Tunnelling of Crossrail in London Complete

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
Tunnelling of Europe’s Largest Engineering Project Complete

Bechtel and Crossrail have completed tunneling on Crossrail in London, the largest engineering project in Europe. The 26 miles of tunnels (42 kilometres), which required the use of eight tunnel boring machines, were completed on schedule in just three years. Bechtel was hired in 2009 as Crossrail Limited’s delivery partner as part of an integrated team to program manage the on-time delivery of the new railway line through central London.

This morning, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron MP, visited the Farringdon Crossrail station work site in central London as part of an event to mark the completion of tunneling. Cameron said: “Crossrail is an incredible feat of engineering that will help to improve the lives of working people in London and beyond. The project is a vital part of our long-term plan to build a more resilient economy by helping businesses to grow, compete and create jobs right along the supply chain.”

“One of the biggest challenges on this project was tunneling beneath centuries of tightly-woven infrastructure,” said Ailie MacAdam, Managing Director for infrastructure, Europe and Africa, Bechtel. “Huge tunnel-boring machines have been chewing up London’s earth around the clock, moving through ground that’s honeycombed with networks of sewer lines, water and gas mains, foundations of buildings, and even some London Underground tunnels dating to the 1860s.”

A 200-strong Bechtel team of project managers, engineers and world-class specialists in sustainability and rail systems are working on Crossrail. With the project 65 percent complete, Bechtel will now focus on the integration and completion of rail and station systems in advance of testing which will commence in 2017. Under a separate contract, Bechtel is also working as delivery partner for Network Rail to upgrade the existing rail network outside London to integrate with Crossrail. 

“To carry out this tunneling safely in such a busy, urban environment is testament to the skills and dedication of everyone involved. Collaboration with our customer, contractors, local businesses and the community has been integral to our success, and we thank them for their support,” added MacAdam.

The first Crossrail services through central London will start in late 2018. An estimated 200 million annual passengers will use Crossrail. The line will increase capacity of London’s passenger rail network by 10 percent and dramatically reduce journey times across the city.

A global leader in the rail industry, Bechtel has successfully delivered some of the largest and most complex rail projects in the world, including the Channel Tunnel, High Speed 1, San Francisco BART system and the Athens Metro. The company is also currently working on the Riyadh Metro, Rio de Janeiro Metro and the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension.

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