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Thames Tideway project completed using bespoke multi-service techniques



Key Benefits:

Bespoke solution

Innovation method and equipment

Multiple transportation techniques


ALE has utilised innovative techniques, designing a bespoke gantry to transport two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) and successfully completed their final phase of work on the Thames Tideway project in London, UK. ALE transported two TBMs, weighing 818t and 832t, from a laydown area to a construction shaft, where they were then lowered onto SPMTs.

Project Engineer, Tom Brazier, said, “We’re really proud of being able to overcome the lack of space by combining our strand jack lifting gantry with our Lift ‘N’ Lock system. ALE has demonstrated its engineering expertise throughout the numerous stages of this challenging project, adapting and developing techniques to ensure we reached the best possible solutions.”

For the final phase, ALE used 42 axle lines of SPMT in a configuration of 6 file 14 to lift the first TBM within its cradle and transport it from the laydown area to an acoustic shed building. Inside the building, ALE constructed a specially-designed strand jack lifting gantry on skid tracks adjacent a 60m-deep shaft.

There was both limited space and headroom, so ALE needed to devise an innovative way of lifting the TBMs without the use of cranes. ALE utilised its Lift ‘n’ Lock system to raise the gantry, enabling the TBM to be positioned underneath the gantry, before lowering the gantry around the machine.


Next, the gantry lifted the TBM from the SPMTs and skidded it over the shaft. ALE then used strand jacks to lower it down the shaft onto waiting SPMTs. The strand jacks had a greater capacity than a crane and were much lighter.

The SPMTs were aligned to line up with the rails of the adit. 500t capacity climbing jacks took the load of the TBM while the SPMTs were removed. ALE used the jacks to adjust the TBM’s vertical alignment before a third party skidded the machine off the cradle into the adit.

ALE repeated this operation for the second TBM. The Thames Tideway project involves the construction of a 25km underground tunnel, up to 66m deep, which will help to expand London’s sewerage system.

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