A couple of milestones

23 May 2022

We mark two completions this month, one momentous, the other – well, perhaps not so.

April saw the official completion of tunnelling on Tideway, London’s ‘super sewer’. Broadly following the course of the River Thames, the nearly 9m-diameter tunnel runs for 25km at depths from around 30m in the west to roughly 70m in the east, allowing sewage to flow completely under gravity. Completion in 2025 will re-invigorate London’s capacity to handle sewage from its burgeoning population, not to mention result in a cleaner river.

For me, it’s one of the most inspiring tunnelling projects on the go at the moment, not only on technical grounds but also as a paradigm of tunnelling sustainability. The river has allowed over 90% of spoil to be removed by barge, instead of by truck, as well as enabling delivery of materials – including TBMs – direct to site. It is providing substantial environmental benefits and, with its investment in local communities, education, training and the supply chain, it is expected to bring long-lasting value to both London and the UK.

The less notable completion is that my time is up as editor of both T&T and TTNA (the North America edition) as I depart for new pastures. It’s been a huge privilege to have been editor of a world-class publication these past two years. And, while Covid has prevented the usual trips to all those inspirational projects and conferences, I can at least console myself in having experienced them virtually (ha ha).

A bizarre aspect of this period is not having met any of my colleagues in person. But I’ve had the pleasure of working with them (named, right) and am grateful for their support and guidance. I must also thank T&T’s editorial advisory board (also named on the right) whose feedback has been detailed, constructive, encouraging and enlightening.

The new editor is Patrick Reynolds, who many of you will know through his articles in this magazine. Pat has a solid past in tunnelling and I‘m sure you will join me in welcoming him to his new post. As the saying goes, out with the old and in with the new.

George Demetri Editor