The first two of six NEC-procured tunnel boring machines are due to start drilling the £4.2 billion Thames Tideway ‘super sewer’ by the end of this year.
‘Millicent’ and 'Ursula’ were both procured for licenced infrastructure provider Tideway under an NEC3 Supply Contract from NFM Techologies in Le Creusot, France. Costing around £15 million each, they were shipped up the Thames via Hamburg, Germany in September.
The 8.8m diameter machines – the largest on the project – are now being assembled in launch adits 53m underground. They will weigh some 1300 t each and measure more than 100 m long when ready.
Millicent will tunnel 5km from the Kirtling Street shaft near Battersea power station to Carnwath Road in Fulham, while Ursula will dig 7.6km from the same shaft to Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey.
The two machines are excavating the central section of the 25km route, which is being delivered under an NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract Option C (target contract with activity schedule) by a Ferrovial Agroman UK and Laing O’Rourke joint venture.
Completion of the whole NEC-procured river clean-up project is scheduled for 2024.