Tunnelling team hand-digs 20-metre stretch of Edinburgh sewer
Two tunnellers have helped Scottish Water progress a major new sewer beneath Edinburgh by hand-digging 90 tonnes of debris.
The century-old sewer under Haymarket Terrace was built by Victorian water pioneers in the capital but is now being upgraded to meet the city’s modern needs, and a challenging section required a hands-on approach with the pair – Gerard Boyce and Thomas Peoples – using tools to dig their way through a 20-metre stretch.
Working over a two-week period in a trench beneath Haymarket, one of the busiest transport hubs in the capital, the two men shovelled between 6 and 9 tonnes per day.
The busy junction outside Haymarket Station was hand-tunnelled to avoid damaging a complex web of utility infrastructure such as electricity, gas, telephone lines and broadband.
Scott Fraser, Scottish Water’s corporate affairs regional manager, said: “The original sewer was built by Victorian engineers using old-fashioned methods. Whilst we’re using a range of high-tech solutions to help progress this vital work to upgrade the sewer at Haymarket, we’ve had to use those same basic tunnelling techniques as the Victorians to clear this particular section.
“The £2.5 million work at Haymarket is one of our most high-profile projects due to its busy location and the small, challenging work site. This unique environment means we are using traditional techniques combined with modern technology to efficiently tunnel under a section of road with a large number of vital utilities, which if damaged could impact local residents and businesses.
“The two tunnellers used modern equipment such as gas detectors, laser technology and hydraulic drills to cut the rock face whilst the earth was then shovelled by hand into a traditional cart on rails, which was then lifted by crane back onto the surface.”
Scottish Water employed ASG Tunnelling & Civil Engineering Services to precisely hand-excavate sections of tunnel where tunnel-boring machines are not appropriate for the terrain conditions.
John Doherty, managing director of ASG Tunnelling & Civil Engineering Services, said: “We are one of the few remaining family-run firms that have the knowledge and experience to take on these hand-tunnelling projects.
“I’m extremely proud of hand-tunnellers Gerard and Thomas, who have completed this work in challenging conditions due to the confined space underground and the sheer number of utilities we encountered and had to work around to get the section completed.”
- Severn Trent Newark project reveals civil war earthwork Severn Trent's £60M investment in Newark’s sewerage infrastructure has unearthed key information regarding the town’s... Read More >
- Tunnel construction complete on Scotland's biggest sewer The construction phase of the Shieldhall Tunnel - Scotland's biggest waste water tunnel, which will help tackle flooding... Read More >
- Study: 20 million UK women admit flushing sanitary products New research suggests that as many as 20 million women in the UK have flushed at least one non-biodegradable sanitary... Read More >
- Developing ideas: Thames Water's innovative sewer plan Thames Water is radically re-engineering an Oxfordshire market town's sewer network to help developers prepare for... Read More >
- Brexit, WWII, ancient artefacts: Southern Water's testing sewer project Southern Water's £2.5 million project to replace an 800m stretch of sewer main in Kent was complicated by - among other... Read More >
- Tyre microplastics pollution: Ignore it or remove it? Tyre microplastics is one of the largest sources of pervasive pollution in the water environment, yet consistently ignored... Read More >
- A data-led approach to clearing FOG Water utilities have a major challenge working with local food businesses to prevent fats, oils and grease entering the... Read More >
- Meeting the SuDS challenge A report indicates that the UK has a long way to go on implementing sustainable drainage systems, yet advice and... Read More >