Ferrovial Agroman Laing O'Rourke joint venture was handed the £500m main works design and build contract by Transport for London (TfL) last year.
Yesterday (23rd November 2015) Mayor of London Boris Johnson gave the signal to start up a specially-designed 300-metre long conveyor belt that will transport spoil to the banks of the River Thames. This represents the start of major works, he said.
Two new 3.2km tunnels will be constructed and two new stations built: one at the Battersea Power Station redevelopment and another at Nine Elms to the east, serving such new development as the US Embassy and the redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market.
Construction spoil will be loaded on to barges and taken to Goshems Farm in East Tilbury in Essex, where it will be used to create arable farmland. Some 600,000 tonnes of earth is set to be excavated during the project.
Tunnelling work for the Northern line extension is set to begin in early 2017 and will take six months to complete. At its peak, up to 26 barges a week will leave the Battersea site, each carrying around 1,000 tonnes of earth to Essex by river.
Mr Johnson said: “The whirring into action of this fantastic machine marks a key moment in the delivery of the Northern line extension. This gigantic conveyor belt will enable a staggering 600,000 tonnes of material to be excavated from beneath south London and transported safely by barge on the Thames.
“Once built, the extension of the Northern line will act as a major spur to regeneration and growth in the area. It will open up the Tube to thousands more Londoners, cut journey times and act as a catalyst for the creation of much-needed new homes and jobs. It is one of a number of major ongoing investments we’re making into improving London’s transport infrastructure, which will be ever more important as our city continues to grow.”