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Fri November 27 2020

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Improvised tunnel shield gets job done for Barhale

19 Oct The design and build of an innovative tunnel shield has proved key for Barhale on a pipe jacking job connected to the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Barhale's interjack at Barn Elms
Barhale's interjack at Barn Elms

Barhale jacked a 215-metre connection tunnel as part of the programme of works to build the West Putney storm relief combined sewer overflow (CSO) at Barn Elms in Richmond, west London.  It was awarded the main civils package by the BAM Nuttall Morgan Sindall Balfour Beatty (BMB) joint venture, which is delivering the 7km west section of the 25km Thames Tideway Tunnel.

The connection tunnel was constructed 30 metres deep, within the London Clay formation, by a 215-metre long  and 2.5-metre diameter pipe jack, which will be finished with a 2.2-metre internal diameter secondary lining. Through a vortex generator and a drop tube, it connects the newly constructed CSO drop shaft located at Barn Elms Sports Centre with the main Thames Tideway Tunnel below the river Thames.

Barhale’s tunnelling operations manager Frank Green explained that the project required innovation. “We encountered some difficult conditions in the early stages of the pipe jack which damaged some of the reinforced concrete jacking pipes as they were jacked in behind an open backhoe-type tunnel excavator machine (TEM),” he said.

Looking down into the pit
Looking down into the pit

 “With the support of the project team, we developed an innovative solution to help us quickly identify and replace any cracked pipes. It saw us design a bespoke recovery shield which we were able to manufacture in house through our fabrication arm BCS.

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“The recovery shield not only enabled the damaged tunnel to be replaced but also provided access to the TEM face to enable repairs and enhancements to be conducted. Additionally, the purpose made TEM was designed to allow complete dismantling at the end of the blind tunnel drive to allow the final connection to the main tunnel to be completed.”

BMB construction director Peter Leyton had praised for Barhale. He said: “The resolution in the team, to come from where we were earlier in the year and then work through all the issues that were put in the way, is a huge testament. Also, the control of the movement in the main tunnel has been excellent and a great reflection on the efforts put in all of the team.”

Along the tunnel
Along the tunnel

The muck skip removes spoil
The muck skip removes spoil

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