July 28 - Having completed its work on the Lee Tunnel project in London, the tunnel boring machine (TBM) Busy Lizzie has been transported back to Germany by WWL ALS.

The TBM was redelivered to manufacturer Herrenknecht in six sections, weighing between 75 and 135 tonnes each, with the largest measuring 7.1 m x 6.8 m x 3.5 m.

Due to the sizes of the TBM sections, the UK Highways Agency would only grant permission to transport the cargo to Tilbury Port. WWL ALS undertook extensive route surveys from Abbey Mills Pumping Station to Tilbury Docks prior to the movement.

The transport, which was carried out over three separate weekday evenings, required police assistance and parking suspensions, as well as the support of street furniture removal teams.

At the UK port of Tilbury the six TBM components were placed onto stools, before being loaded onto a chartered vessel using a 750-tonne capacity Liebherr LG 1750 lattice-tower mobile crane.

The cargo was then shipped to the port of Rotterdam, where the components were lifted onto a barge for delivery along the River Rhine to a heavy lift terminal close to the Herrenknecht base. After a short road transport to the site, the sections arrived at their final destination.

The Lee Tunnel is part of the Thames Tideway Scheme and runs from Abbey Mills Pumping Station to Beckton Sewage Treatment Works under the London Borough of Newham.

 The project, which commenced in 2010, will prevent more than 16 million tonnes of sewage mixed with rainwater overflowing into the River Lee from the Victorian sewer network when it becomes overloaded. Find out more about the project here.


TBM sections transported through London at night.