Civil engineering contractor Land & Water has begun work with London marine freight firm Walsh to remove more than one million tonnes of tunnel spoil from the eastern leg of the Tideway super sewer project by barge this week.
Chalk and clay from Tideway sites at Chambers Wharf, Greenwich Pumping Station and King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore in Shadwell is being loaded onto Walsh river barges for transport down the Thames to the Land & Water restoration project at Rainham Marshes.
Using river freight for the scheme is helping to reduce road congestion by keeping around 100,000 lorry movements off London’s streets.
The operation is expected to take 14 months.
Walsh has made investments in its marine fleet worth almost £6m for the project, including the Damen CS2010 pusher tug (SWS Endeavour) which went into service at the end of 2020 and the adaptable Damen Multi Cat 1908 (SWS Endurance) delivered in 2019. The existing fleet and eight new barges are operated by a 25-strong crew.
Walsh has already shifted more than 600,000 tonnes of material from other parts of the 25km Tideway project. Another company of the GRS Group, RFS (a joint venture with construction materials producer Aggregate Industries), is carrying out all the spoil handling from Tideway sites onto Walsh barges.
The joint delivery partners for the eastern section of Tideway are Costain, Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche (CVB).
Joe Gifford, Walsh managing director, said: “We’re extremely proud to be playing such an important role in the delivery of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. The Walsh marine business is uniquely positioned to move materials to and from major infrastructure schemes that support development and regeneration in London. The fact that we have such a huge capability to move freight by river means that we can add real value to major projects like Tideway, especially when spoil can be put to good use in land restoration elsewhere along the river.”
Tom Melhuish, project manager at Land & Water, said: “Having already received over 450,000 tonnes of material from the west section of Tideway, we are looking forward to supporting the tunnel drive from the east section. This will enable us to make significant progress with our restoration at Rainham, helping to create an oasis for wildlife. The Tideway project has highlighted not only how the River Thames can be used as a sustainable and reliable transport system but also shown the benefits of re-using waste to create substantial new habitats and foster biodiversity.”