A potential six-month closure of the Embankment at Blackfriars has been averted by the company building London’s super sewer.
The feared closure was down to a Victorian gas pipe that sits underneath Tideway’s construction site in the river and an uncertainty as to whether it needed to be diverted.
However, extensive survey work by Tideway’s engineers has led to a new construction method being implemented, which will minimise the amount of ground movement. This has reassured the gas supplier Cadent that the pipe will not be affected during work to build the 25km super sewer, meaning the road closure is not required.
Andy Alder, Tideway’s Programme Director, said: “The assessment of this gas main has been a big piece of work for us to complete and, with the support of Cadent and TfL, we’re glad that we can finally confirm that the diversion is not required and our work to clean up the river with the super sewer can continue as planned.
“The gas pipe sat beneath our site within the river wall is more than 150 years old, and of course our priority has been to ensure we can do our job without damaging it. We understand the idea of closing the Embankment was not a welcome prospect, especially for London’s cab drivers, so I am sure they will welcome this news.”
Glynn Barton, TfL’s Director of Network Management, said: “We work closely with companies such as Tideway and Cadent Gas to keep any disruption on our road network to a minimum. We’re pleased that a further closure of the Victoria Embankment is no longer necessary and would like to thank road users in the area for their patience whilst Tideway carried out its survey. We’ll continue to work closely with Tideway and other companies to keep London moving through construction work in the capital.”
Cadent has also carried out its own surveying work and has a monitoring programme and contingency plans in place to ensure the gas pipe remains undisturbed by the work.
Tideway is building the Thames Tideway Tunnel, a 25km sewer tunnel to prevent the current tens of millions of tonnes of raw sewage that pollute the river every year. With 24 construction sites from Acton in West London to Beckton in East London, construction began in 2016 and the project is due for completion by 2025*.
For more information on the work Tideway is doing, visit www.tideway.london
*This article has been amended to reflect the project's updated completion date following an analysis of the impacts of the pandemic.