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Utility Week 8 July issue

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Page 19 of 31

20 | 8TH - 14TH JULY 2016 | UTILITY WEEK Operations & Assets Analysis A er years of planning and prepara- tory work, construction of the long- awaited Thames Tideway Tunnel is due to begin in earnest this October. What makes Tideway so sure it will complete the project on budget and ahead of schedule when other mammoth infrastructure projects have failed to do so? The tunnel is the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the water indus- try. It is oen dubbed the "super sewer", and the company responsible for building it insists it is "urgently needed" to help tackle overflows of untreated sewage into the river through the centre of London. Tideway's chief operating officer Mark Sneesby tells Utility Week that it will take note of the lessons learnt during other major infrastructure projects in the capital – such as the Lee Tunnel, Crossrail and the Olympic Games – and he says he is "very confident" that the company can deliver the project on budget. "This confidence is based on the rigour of the procurement process to appoint the main works contractors, as well as the systems integrator contract," he says. "Equally, we are also working hard to ensure the project comes in ahead of sched- ule," he adds. "The existing target is late 2023 or early 2024, but we are aiming to take up to two years off this programme." Tideway announced at the end of last year that it would strive to complete the pro- ject up to two years earlier than originally planned. At the time, chief executive Andy Mitchell said this would demand a "radi- cal change" to the timetable, with work on site to start six months early, tunnelling to start a year early and another year shaved off commissioning. "It is a radical change in the programme, but if you have that radical ambition like we do, there is only one time to call it – and that is now," he added. Critics of the Tunnel, such as the Thames Blue Green Economy (TBGE) group, say it is an "outdated and expensive folly" that "is not needed" to maintain the Tideway's water quality. The coalition of water industry experts, engineers, academics, politicians and environmental representatives insist construction of the tunnel "must be stopped" and alternatives put in place, "before more damage is done and more time and money is wasted". Its argument is that "integrated water resource management" should be imple- mented instead to deal with the "rare occa- sions" when London's drainage system cannot cope with storm water run-off. However, Tideway maintains that the tun- nel is "urgently needed" to prevent tens of millions of tonnes of raw sewage polluting the tidal River Thames every year. It does not reject integrated water resource man- agement, but insists that green infrastruc- ture should be built in to work alongside the measure. As the start date for construction draws closer, Sneesby says the company is "making excellent progress". The main works contrac- tors have already set up at the three main drive sites – Bermondsey, Battersea and Ful- ham – and construction is to start officially in the autumn, "most likely October". Tideway gets ready to dig in Construction is ready to start on the mammoth Thames Tideway Tunnel project – the largest undertaken by the UK's water industry. Lois Vallely considers its prospects. Major UK infrastructure projects Wembley Stadium Wembley Stadium was rebuilt in the 2000s, replacing the original structure from 1923. The project took five years longer to complete than first estimated and cost approximately £1 billion – almost triple the initial estimates. Multiplex – the company that built the stadium – sued the engineering consultants, Mott MacDonald, for £253 million, saying their services were "unsatisfactory". Crossrail Crossrail is one of the world's longest running infrastructure projects. Crossrail Limited – the company set up to build the new railway – was established in 2001, and enabling works first started at Canary Wharf in December 2008. The first trains are due to start running in May 2017, and the project should be com- pletely up and running by December 2019. The final budget for the project was subject to intense scrutiny before being set at £14.8 billion. Meanwhile, Crossrail 2 is expected to cost between £27 billion and £32 billion, and is due to start running in 2033 – about 15 years aer the Elizabeth Line, as Crossrail is now called, fully opens. Hinkley Point C Originally due to be completed by December 2017, EDF's Hinkley Point C project has suffered numerous setbacks and problems with financ- ing, leading to the timeline being pushed back by at least eight years. The completion date for the project has been revised, with latest estimates suggest- ing it may not be complete until at least 2025, with construction due to start in 2017 once a final investment decision has been reached. Critics say the project could be damaging to both customers and investors, burdening UK taxpayers with "highly expensive" power, and risks bankrupting EDF.

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