Date published 6 September 2021

An underground tunneling project has started on the surface water drainage system through the historical city of Chester in Cheshire. Main contractors on the Cheshire West and Chester Council scheme is Vinci Construction, who are installing the 1200mm diameter, 1km in length tunnel that includes nine access shafts, spaced along the tunnel, each 7m wide and 12m in depth.

With the current network at capacity, the new water management scheme will reduce the untreated sewage discharges into the river during heavy rainfall.The environmental impact of the new surface water tunnel includes reducing seasonal flooding, drain bursts within the city centre, reducing the water needing sewage treatment, and will help cut energy use.

Andrew Lewis, Chief Executive of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said “The new drain is a major future-proof investment in Chester’s recovery from the pandemic, and an essential requirement ahead of our major regeneration schemes.

Garry Bowker, Regional Director for the Northwest of Vinci Construction UK Limited, added: “we are delighted to commence the tunnelling phase of the new drain; our contractors will be using the most advanced technology available to ensure we can work safely and efficiently to deliver this critical project.

“Our ability to undertake this tunnelling project, as well as the main Northgate phase one development, demonstrates the wide range of technical expertise we can offer as a business.”

As a UK leading manufacturer of water management solutions, Marshalls Civils & Drainage are supplying 675mm concrete pipes to the scheme vis merchants, Keyline, along with a range of pipefittings that will form part of the diversion from the main installation.

The scheme is due to be complete next summer and will allow the city centre of Chester to become more secure against the threat of flooding and other environmental impacts.

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