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End of year updates from the Tideway eastern section team

London River Thames

28 December 2023

Good progress is being made on the eastern section of Tideway as the year draws to a close. The year ahead will also see various milestones being delivered, including the connection of tunnels and construction of river walls and other key components.

Tideway is an ambitious project to upgrade London’s sewer system to cope with its growing population.  The project is charged with designing and building 32 kilometres of tunnels to intercept the capital’s wastewater and stormwater, then divert it into treatment plants, to prevent sewage entering the River Thames. 

The eastern section is one of three sections making up the Tideway project and is a joint venture between Costain, VINCI Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche.

Costain’s Richard Holbrook has been appointed as project director of the eastern section, spanning six sites and 10 kilometres of tunnels. Richard has served as the deputy director of the Tideway eastern section for almost two years and began his career at Costain as a site engineer, 18 years ago.

Tideway eastern section project director, Richard Holbrook, said: “We’re now at a really exciting phase of the project: our teams’ hard work will come to fruition over the next 12-18 months when the Thames Tideway Tunnel will start to receive flows from the Thames Water network; doing what it was intended to do: clean up the river for many future generations of Londoners.” 

Construction progress on the project is now accelerating; the secondary lining teams successfully completed the final concrete lining of the tunnel in October. At the Abbey Mills Pumping Station, a sewage pumping station near Stratford, the team has been preparing to take over from the secondary lining team and begin the concrete benching works within the deepest shaft of the 24 across Tideway, at 75m. This benching will guide flows from the Thames Tideway Tunnel into the Lee Tunnel, towards Beckton Sewage Treatment Works. 

Next year the shaft cover at Abbey Mills will be moved into place and the bulkhead at this main intersection will also be removed, which will mean the tunnels are fully connected and open.  The river wall at Chambers Wharf is being constructed for the removal of the cofferdam and at the King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore site (a sewer overflow in Tower Hamlets), the park has been extended by 8%, to create a new public space.  To put this into perspective, the shaft at King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore is 52 metres deep (169 feet), which is the same height as Nelson’s Column; while the shaft cover slab at Abbey Mills weighs 1,250 tonnes and has a diameter of 34 metres (112 feet), matching the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. 


Watch this video from the team as they update on progress across the eastern section LONDON'S SUPER SEWER: Looking East (youtube.com)

Richard added: “The next 18 months are going to be fast-paced, with lots going on at ever-changing work areas on our six sites; we’re making great progress towards opening the sewage overflow system in 2025 and preventing sewage from entering the Thames.”