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Tideway East’s Costain Vinci Bachy (CVB) Joint Venture TBM removal plan increases milestone success

Thames Tideway montage


11 May 2021

A major landmark has been achieved on Tideway London with tunnel boring machine (TBM) Ursula lifted from the Chambers Wharf shaft after completing her role tunnelling the 7.6km Central section from Battersea to Bermondsey.

The 700 tonne TBM was lifted by a special 1,800 tonne marine floating crane.

Initial plans were to remove Ursula in sections, but subsequent reviews and feasibility studies undertaken by the CVB JV resulted in a revised plan which removed the TBM shield as a whole asset.

Gerard Shore, water sector director at Costain said, “This revised plan was based on increased safety implications as less work was undertaken underground, reduced schedule impact due to less intervention required and an increased opportunity for the TBM to be used on other projects. The team has done an outstanding job to successfully complete this highly complex operation involving detailed planning and collaboration across multiple organisations. This is leading edge engineering in action.”

The potential re-use of the TBM and transporting it by river on a barge is a key part of continuing our greener programme delivery strategy on the project. 

In challenging weather conditions, the CVB team along with supply chain partner Mammoet mobilised the crane from the Netherlands, across the channel and up the Thames estuary to Chambers Wharf where the TBM lift was undertaken on Friday evening.