A 160-tonne tunnel boring machine has embarked on a journey 15 metres below the historic town of Newark in Nottinghamshire, as part of a £60m waste and water infrastructure overhaul.The BNM Alliance – a partnership between Barhale plc and North Midland Construction Plc – is working with Severn Trent on the major improvement scheme, which will upgrade its legacy water system and help protect 400 homes and businesses from the threat of sewer flooding.Work has commenced on the scheme, which is Severn Trent’s largest investment in the East Midlands. It will run 15km of pipeline beneath the market town and is due for completion in 2020.As the largest of five tunnelling machines planned for use on the project, the 75m long ‘Siege Breaker’ will burrow a 2.85m diameter tunnel from its entry point at Crankley Point Sewage Works. It will travel 2800m at approximately 50m-a-day to create the ‘backbone’ of the revamped water network.Nick Wallace, programme engineer from Severn Trent said: “This work forms a pinnacle part of the project and will help protect our customers from sewer flooding. As the town continues to expand with developments and businesses, the new water and waste system means that our customers in Newark have a more reliable and stable system for years to come.”The ‘Siege Breaker’ machine was given its name by a keen historian and Newark resident – inspired by the fact that its launch shaft is located in an area where Newark’s civil war siege of the 1600s is said to have taken place.The BNM Alliance board said: “This high-profile project with Severn Trent reinforces Barhale plc and North Midland Construction Plc’s alliance. This powerful tunnelling technology will allow the BNM Alliance team to develop the principal tunnel ‘backbone’ to the entire scheme – and is a major milestone in the commencement of this three-year project.”
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