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Cutter head for Silvertown Tunnel lowered

The cutter head for the Tunnel Boring Machine was lowered into the shaft last week, marking yet another significant accomplishment for the Silvertown Tunnel project.

The TBM is the largest diameter TBM in the UK, with a diameter of 11.91m, or nearly three double decker buses.
Last month, the 1,800 tonne machine started being lowered into the launch chamber in pieces. There, it will be put together and later this summer will be commission before beginning to bore the 1.4 km tunnel.

Parts of the TBM shield and the 250-tonne main drive of the TBM have recently been lowered into the launch chamber along with the cutter head.

As well as the cutter head, parts of the TBM shield have also recently been lowered down into the launch chamber, as well as the 250-tonne main drive of the TBM.

The site’s conveyor, which will transfer tunneling waste from the chamber to barges for later transportation along the river, is almost finished. Meanwhile, the first of the concrete tunnel rings, which will be installed as the TBM advances across the river, has also started to arrive.

The 1.4 km twin-lane road tunnel connecting North Greenwich and Silvertown is being built by the Riverlinx Construction joint venture, which is made up of BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction, and SK Ecoplant.

When it opens in 2025, the new twin-bore tunnel will relieve pressure on the frequently congested Blackwall Tunnel and expand the number of buses that can cross the river at this location.

As soon as it opens, the tunnel will operate at least twenty zero-emission buses per hour in each direction, greatly enhancing cross-river connectivity and enabling more people to access new employment opportunities.

The name “Jill” was chosen for the TBM last month, according to a Riverlinx announcement, in honor of Jill Viner, the first woman to operate a bus in London in June 1974.