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Tideway marks the end of tunnelling with a unique performance in the tunnel depths

  • Tunnelling started in 2018.
  • The tunnel, now constructed, runs 25km from east to west London and at its deepest is around 70m deep.
  • Once complete in 2025, the new super sewer will dramatically reduce sewage pollution of River Thames

Today marks the end of tunnelling for London’s Thames Tideway Tunnel or ‘Super Sewer’ and to commemorate this engineering feat, a live performance has taken place 70 metres underground in the depth of the tunnel itself.

The performance, from London-based composer and musician Rob Lewis, was streamed and is available on Tideway's YouTube channel and fuses multi-instrumental music with the sounds of the sewer construction, capturing the unique acoustic properties of the space.

“Completion of tunnelling for London’s new super sewer is testament to the hard work and contributions of thousands of people and organisations, over many years – and it brings us closer to the ultimate goal of a cleaner River Thames. This performance celebrates a significant milestone in our efforts to create a more sustainable London for our growing population and we are pleased to commemorate the end of tunnelling in such a unique way.” – Sir Neville Simms, Chair of Tideway

Audiences can anticipate a symphony of percussion instruments, cello harmonics and piano to embody the flowing and movement of water, the complex construction of the sewage system and ultimately, the brighter future of a cleaner London.

The piece represents the journey and positive environmental impact of London’s new super sewer and includes field recordings from Tideway’s construction sites that have formed the backdrop for the composition.

“Today marks a major achievement after four years of our tunnelling machines working away beneath the River Thames. This project is all about protecting the Thames from sewage pollution – and with the outer shell of the tunnel now complete, we’re a step closer to bringing London the healthier river it deserves.” - Mousa Khalifeh, Senior Project Manager at Chambers Wharf.

“It is wonderful to see this project reaching this important milestone; it’s a phenomenal feat of British engineering and will deliver huge environmental benefits for the River Thames. The Tunnel will prevent millions of tonnes of sewage overflowing into the river, helping to improve water quality and allowing marine life to thrive further. Our partnership with Tideway has been an extraordinary success and I want to thank all those involved for their hard work on this incredible project, and I look forward to seeing its completion.” - Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow. 

Sustainability lies at the core of Tideway’s values and mission with their investment in local communities, education, training and the supply chain ensuring that the legacy of the Tideway project will be profound and long-lasting not only for London, but for the UK as a whole.

More than 90% of the excavated spoil removed to create the tunnels was removed from site by barge, keeping lorries off the road and providing substantial environmental benefits when compared to the HGV equivalent.

The Tideway project is due to be complete in 2025, following secondary lining, connection and testing works. To date, the Tideway project has seen the creation of more than 4,000 sustainable jobs and more than 100 apprenticeships across the UK.