A 28t tunnel boring machine (TBM) has arrived on the Isle of Wight to bore a tunnel for a storm water tank in Shanklin.
Southern Water and delivery partner MGJV are using a laser-guided TBM as part of a £4M scheme to imporve the bathing quality of water in the area.
The TBM, named Marthur, will be boring 7m per day beneath the town to construct a 1.8m diamater tunnel to a 750,000litre underground storm water tank .
Later this week the 8m long TBM will be lowered into a 24m deep shaft before it bores 158m over the next five weeks for the first phase of the scheme.
When complete, the tunnel will be 300m long and the new tank will cut such storm discharges by as much as a third.
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Isle of Wight councillor Chris Quirk, who serves on the joint IoW council and Southern Water working party, said: “It is impressive that the same technology that has been used to tunnel across London for Crossrail is being used on a smaller scale in Shanklin. The result of this major investment by Southern Water will improve seawater quality across the bay, and will also help to minimise the risk of local flooding. This investment is totally supportive of the council’s regeneration strategy for Tourism in the Bay, improving the quality of the tourism offer.”
The name for the TBM was chosen by Shanklin town councillor Sara Sheath as a feminised form of “Arthur”, as the TBM will be tunnelling beneath Arthur’s Hill in Shanklin.
Southern Water’s senior project manager for the Bathing Water Enhancement Programme Chris O’Grady said: “We’ve been working very closely with the council to help protect and enhance the bathing water quality in the region. We know work like this can be disruptive and we’d like to say a really big ‘thank you’ to everyone for their patience and understanding.
“The local beaches and bathing waters are the lifeblood of this community and we’re delighted to be playing our part in helping to improve them.”
The £31.5M Bathing Water Enhancement Programme will bring a ”Magnificent Seven” bathing beaches up to the Environment Agency’s Exceptional Standard.