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The impact of adverse geological conditions on the design and construction of the Thames Water Ring Main in Greater London, UK

Tim Newman
The impact of adverse geological conditions on the design and construction of the Thames Water Ring Main in Greater London, UK
Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology (February 2009) 42 (1): 5-20

Abstract

The Thames Water Ring Main has been driven through the various Palaeogene deposits of London and the underlying Cretaceous Chalk. Much of the tunnel alignment was designed to keep within the London Clay Formation over the western half of the project, although discovery of a number of Quaternary scour hollow features, during the ground investigation, led to revisions in tunnel design. In addition, a scour feature was also intersected during tunnelling, necessitating changes to the tunnel lining and use of compressed air. Over much of the eastern half of the project, the tunnel alignment was unable to avoid the lower Palaeogene deposits of the Lambeth Group, and Thanet Sand Formation, as well as the underlying Chalk. These deposits were found to contain hazardous features, such as sand-filled channels, sub-artesian groundwater and hard ground, complicated further by geological faults along the route. Intersection with these features could have had serious implications for the health and safety and efficiency of tunnelling operations. These adverse geological conditions were avoided by changes to the alignment during design or by ground dewatering prior to construction. When intersection occurred, the open-faced machines used compressed air and lining changes to mitigate the risk. From 1990, the project used Earth Pressure Balance Machines (EPBMs) for the first time in the UK. These allowed better control of problematic ground and allowed the project to set an all-time productivity record.


ISSN: 1470-9236
EISSN: 2041-4803
Serial Title: Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
Serial Volume: 42
Serial Issue: 1
Title: The impact of adverse geological conditions on the design and construction of the Thames Water Ring Main in Greater London, UK
Author(s): Newman, Tim
Affiliation: Thames Water Utilities, Reservoir Safety & Geotechnics, Ashford Common, United Kingdom
Pages: 5-20
Published: 20090201
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of London, London, United Kingdom
References: 8
Accession Number: 2009-052537
Categories: Engineering geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sects., sketch maps
N51°30'00" - N51°30'00", W00°10'00" - W00°10'00"
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data from The Geological Society, London, London, United Kingdom
Update Code: 200929
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