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Thames Water Lee Tunnel Project Receives Award

The Thames Water Lee Tunnel project has been awarded the top trophy at the ICE London Civil Engineering Awards 2012. Thirteen infrastructure and building projects were shortlisted for the annual awards. A total of six projects received honors including King’s Cross Station, the Blackwall Tunnel, Cannon Place and Exhibition Road. In addition to winning the overall award, the Lee Tunnel project also received the Infrastructure Award, sponsored by CH2M HILL.

Las Arenas in Barcelona received the ICE’s new “Engineered in London Award,” sponsored by Hays, which recognizes the significance of work conducted by London’s civil engineers both nationally and globally.
Judgements on engineering excellence were based on criteria such as innovation, creativity, sustainability, health and safety and social value. Previous winners include the East London Line, the Olympic Park, the Thames Barrier, Heathrow Terminal 5A, Hampton Water Treatment Works and Wembley Stadium.

The Thames Water Lee Tunnel project involved: Client: Thames Water; Project Manager: PMT (CH2M HILL); Designer: Mott MacDonald, Morgan Sindall Underground Professional Services (UnPS), Bachy Soletanche; Contractor: MVB (a joint venture between Morgan Sindall, VINCI Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche.

Construction of the Lee Tunnel is currently under way in East London. When operational in 2015, the 4-mile tunnel will capture the 16 million tonnes of untreated sewage currently discharged into the River Lee in a typical year from London’s largest single combined sewer overflow at Abbey Mills, greatly improving water quality.
The Lee Tunnel’s four shafts range in diameter from 20 to 40 m and are the deepest ever built in London. The construction of the diaphragm walls, which support these shafts, was completed in December 2011. The design for the walls met stringent Eurocode standards, and materials used during construction, including the concrete mix, had to meet requirements set out by the Environment Agency to ensure they did not pollute a nearby drinking water aquifer. The use of nearby waterways to remove spoil from site further reduced the project’s carbon footprint through minimizing vehicular traffic.

Another tunnel project receiving recognition was the Blackwall Tunnel Northbound Refurbishment, which won a Special Award for Re-engineering. Project participants included – Client: Transport for London; Engineer: Mott MacDonald; Contractor: BAM Nuttall; Subcontractor: VVB Engineering Services.

The refurbishment of the northbound Blackwall Tunnel was completed in November 2011, over a year ahead of schedule and within budget. The essential safety improvements have brought the 114-year-old landmark tunnel – which is used by 50,000 vehicles a day – up to date with modern safety standards., thus reducing the number of incidents that force the tunnel to close in future.

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