As a series of tunnel boring machines drill a huge sewer underneath the River Thames, a map shows their live(ish) progress. Four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are currently digging the 25km Thames Tideway Tunnel, under construction to reduce sewage pollution in the River Thames.

The new map shows the TBMs have tunnelled more than 9km so far and passed under six road bridges, with Ursula – the machine creating a central section of the tunnel – approaching Westminster Bridge, and Rachel – digging in the west – recently passing beneath Putney Bridge.

The map is updated weekly and shows how far each machine has tunnelled, including the total length of built tunnel. It also includes a 300m tunnel from Hammersmith Pumping Station that has already been constructed and will eventually connect to the main super sewer.

Tideway is using six tunnel boring machines in total to create the 25km super sewer and its connection tunnels. The final two TBMs will start digging the east section of the tunnel next year.

The first section of the main tunnel is close to completion, as TBM Millicent approaches Fulham after digging almost 5km from Battersea. Last month a smaller TBM, Charlotte, which is digging the Frogmore Connection Tunnel in Wandsworth, broke through the ground at King George’s Park.

The machines are all named after women from history who lived or worked near Tideway’s construction sites.

The map is here.


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One comment
  1. JP says:

    I wonder if the Hammersmith connection means that when it’s plumbed in, the awful smell (and taste on a bad day) coming from the poo pumping station there will allow people to use the nearby park and playground without fear and even those who’ve bought flats nigh-on on top of it and usually down-wind of it, to sit out on their balconies? Or posit their resale?

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