Engineers prepare to start work on huge Thames tunnel

Published: Friday 18th May 18

Wandsworth Council’s deputy leader Jonathan Cook and the Minister for London Jo Johnson met at the Battersea site of the multibillion pound Thames Tideway Tunnel yesterday (May 17) as engineers prepare to start tunnelling.

Cllr Cook and Jo Johnson in front of 'Ursula' the tunnel boring machine

They visited the site as engineering teams get ready to start tunnelling work on the £4.2 billion scheme, which will be the biggest ever investment in the capital’s sewerage system.

The first two tunnel boring machines – huge feats of engineering that will begin work on the 25km tunnel – are ready to be lowered, which will lead to work starting on one of the largest projects of its kind in Europe later this year. Ninety percent of the soil removed during the tunnelling works will be taken away by barge – about 4.2 million tonnes.

Jonathan Cook, Deputy Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “I am delighted to see this launch in Wandsworth and it’s an important step in the project to clean up the Thames. It’s great to see Tideway helping our drive to improve air quality and minimising lorry movements.”

The Thames Tideway Tunnel will start at Acton Storm Tanks in West London and end at Abbey Mills Pumping Station in East London. Of the 24 Tideway sites across London, six are in Wandsworth: Putney Embankment Foreshore, King George’s Park, Dormay Street, Falconbrook Pumping Station, Heathwall Pumping Station and Kirtling Street. Find out more about each site at

Artists working alongside local residents have created artworks covering the site hoardings, like this one in Putney

Minister for London Jo Johnson said: “London is a thriving international city, and people will always want to move here. We must ensure that opportunities for housing and work are there – and that Londoners are offered the best possible quality of life.

“The Thames Tideway Tunnel is an incredible feat of engineering and a big part of this ambition. It will help guarantee that the groundwork is in place to support our great city for the decades to come.”

The Thames Tideway Tunnel will modernise the capital’s ageing sewage system for the next 100 years. It is set to be completed in 2023.

It will also improve the river’s water quality significantly by dramatically reducing the amount of sewage overflowing into the river, allowing its biodiversity to flourish.

Mark Sneesby, Tideway’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “The lowering of our first two tunnel boring machines will mark a significant milestone for the construction of Thames Tideway Tunnel, ahead of tunnelling later this year. When complete the tunnel will prevent tens of millions of tonnes of untreated sewage entering London’s iconic River Thames every year.”

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Recent comments

Stop inviting the whole world to come live in Wandsworth and there should be no need for larger sewers. 6 sites in Wandsworth- look forward to the chaos caused by non stop HGVs ruining the quality of our roads, creating yet more pot holes.
Liz D

19 May 2018