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River transport at Chambers Wharf saves 40,000 lorry journeys since tunnelling began

The use of the river for transport at Chambers Wharf, Tideway’s main drive site on the east section of London’s new super sewer, has avoided around 40,000 lorry journeys since tunnelling began.

Tunnelling machine Selina is currently tunnelling east towards Stratford from Chambers Wharf, with all of the excavated material from the tunnel being removed from the site by barge – taking up to 75 lorries off the road per barge. Tunnel segments to line the tunnel are also being delivered by site to river, saving up to 48 lorries from attending site.

Across the project, Tideway is committed to using the River Thames for transportation during construction. More than 614,000 lorry journeys have been avoided across the project so far since construction began.

At the Chambers Wharf site alone the use of barges to remove tunnel spoil will eventually result in the removal of approximately 250,000 HGV movements from UK roads with an estimated carbon reduction of 18,000 tonnes.

Mousa Khalifeh, senior project manager on the eastern section of the project, said: “It is always great to see good progress on sites, but to do so in an environmentally friendly way by utilising the river makes it even more special.

“The team on all the sites in East did a fantastic job and achieved all their planned milestones, and did so in a challenging working environment with the pandemic. We look forward to the works ahead in 2022 and marking the completion of all tunnel excavations on Tideway. “

Since tunnelling started on the project 98 per cent of material excavated from the main tunnel has been transported by river from Tideway’s foreshore sites, dramatically reducing emissions and cutting traffic for Londoners.

In addition to the benefits of using the river for transport, five out of six sites on the eastern section of the project are now running primarily on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel, produced from waste vegetable oil sources. HVO, which can produce up to 92% less CO2e for each litre when compared with traditional diesel, is being explored for use on a number of our sites along the route.  

Anna Fish, an environmental advisor on the eastern section of the project, said: “The change to HVO fuel was an easy decision. Carbon emissions generated from fuel use in construction plant contributes a significant portion of the industry’s carbon footprint. This simple solution reduces several greenhouse gas emissions by using a sustainability produced fuel from waste vegetable oil. Thanks to the enthusiasm shown by our teams and supply chain, it was straightforward to change and can be shared with other sites for further reductions”.

Tideway continues to trial various new technologies which will enable us to operate in a sustainable way and deliver a positive, lasting legacy for London.

Learn more about Tideway's use of the river – on Tunnel Vision