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Ground conditions force Scottish Water flood tunnel to be hand dug

A 16m tunnel is to be hand dug after unforeseen ground conditions halts work on flood scheme in Greenock, Scotland.

Engineers are to hand dig a new tunnel to connect to an existing sewer. Initally it was thought that the tunnel could be bored with a guided tunnelling machine before unforeseen ground conditions were encountered. 

Amey Black and Veatch project manager Scott Hendry said: “In order to minimise disruption for the local community and road users, we had planned to use a guided tunnelling machine to tunnel under the roadway and across to the roundabout where the existing sewer is located.

“Early investigations indicated that this less intrusive method of tunnelling would be possible. Unfortunately, that’s not been the case due to the hard, rocky ground conditions we’ve come up against and we now need to dig the 16m long tunnel by hand. This method will take much longer than it would have done with the tunnelling machine.”

It is estimated that the £2.8M project will delayed for around two months to enable to tunnel to be hand dug.

Scottish Water corporate affairs manager Ruaridh MacGregor added: “Scottish Water is very sorry that we have not been able to lift the road restrictions when we had previously stated and that this complication has increased the project timescales as a result. 

“We understand that people will be disappointed with this. However, I would emphasise that this had not been expected and is due to circumstances beyond our control.

“We’d like to thank the local community and all affected road users for their continued patience and understanding. We’d also like to remind the public that local traders and companies remain open for business as usual while the work continues.”

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