Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crossrail Project Will Ship Spoil by Thames

MoU with Port of London will save half a million truck journeys across city
Shipping News Feature

LONDON, UK – Managers for London’s new Crossrail project today announced that the more than five million tonnes of material projected to be removed by the scheme will be shipped by barge down the Thames so as to avoid the need for an estimated half a million lorry journeys through the heart of the capital.

Crossrail have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Port of London Authority (PLA) confirming its commitment to use barges and ships along the Thames to move its excavated materials.

Speaking of the agreement the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

"Moving five million tonnes of earth excavated from the centre of London requires a solution of Herculean proportions. Using the barges rather than the roads is a supremely brilliant plan and it brings joy to my heart to see them make their way up and down the Thames.

"Using barges avoids the need for a huge number of lorries to grind their way through the city. It also brings together two of our key priorities - making better use of the river and keeping digging for Crossrail.

"Crossrail will add at least £20 billion to the economy and employ some 14,000 people. It is crucial to London's economic prosperity and I'm absolutely delighted to see work steaming ahead."

Crossrail, currently Europe's largest construction project, will excavate a total of 7.3 million m³ of material and by 2017 will allow rail commuters to travel under London from the East and West unimpeded by the need to use the general London travel infrastructure.

Chief Executive of Crossrail, Rob Holden said: "The final destinations for the excavated material in Essex and Kent have been specifically chosen to ensure that the vast majority is transported by either rail or river thereby limiting the impact on the road network.

“Using the river is fundamental for us. You can move much more material on the river in one barge compared to a single lorry; doing so also takes much less energy and generates far fewer environmental emissions."

Port of London Authority Chief Executive, Richard Everitt said:

"The Thames is London's greenest highway. It's already the busiest waterway in the country. We've been working alongside the Crossrail team to help them make the most of the river to help keep the impact of the construction of the rail links to a minimum."

Close to 100% of the excavated material is expected to be clean and uncontaminated and under current plans Crossrail has made an agreement with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to create a nature reserve at Wallasea Island in Essex using 4 million cubic metres of the soil generated from construction of the new tunnels.

This will create one of the largest new wetland nature reserves in Europe for some 50 years and act as a carbon sink, soaking up 2.2 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year.

The news comes a week after contractors for the new Olympic park started using the London canal network to remove spoil for disposal from the Stratford site.

(pic: Boris Johnson)