Thames Tideway AKA Super Sewer Works

DSCN5222I had a meeting last week with the team at Thames Tideway, the new outfit that has been formed to take forward the super sewer project, to discuss works in our ward.

For those who aren’t fully initiated when it comes to London’s waterworks, we basically rely on sewerage infrastructure that was built 150 years ago by Sir Joseph Bazalgette. He designed a system that would cope, at its top limit, with the stinky side effects of four million Londoners. There are now eight million of us (admittedly not all relying on Bazalgette’s system) and Thames Water want to build a massive tunnel under the city to cope with rising levels of crap, a so-called Super Sewer.

It has been controversial because it’s expensive (with some people suggesting there are better, cheaper alternatives) and it will be disruptive to those areas affected by the construction works. 

And that takes us to King Edward Memorial Park, Wapping. This gorgeous park, which many of us enjoy for its beautiful riverside and dazzling view of Canary Wharf, has been earmarked to be shafted, quite literally. A sixty-metre deep shaft is to be built in a new area of reclaimed land in front of the existing river wall. Ultimately, the park will get bigger but in the meantime a bit of the park (the particularly nice bit) will be cordoned off for three and a half years to allow for construction.DSCN5203

I’ve scanned in the briefing I got from Thames Tideway so that everyone can see it.

Thames Tideway Briefing – KEMP

It includes information about timescale, disruption, things that will be done to mitigate the impact from the site, and sweeteners to the community for putting up with our park being out of action (including £3 million for the landscaping of the park and money to Shadwell Basin and Glamis Road Adventure Playground).

I have asked them for more information on the following:-

The exact configuration of the park (sports facilities etc) during the work.

Whether the D3 bus route will be affected.

Where the Thames Path will divert.

How many street parking spaces will be lost during the work, if any.

Who attended the first steering group meeting on 12 March.

proj-004-KEMP-view1-12-12-02-1024x724I also expressed concern about the number of vehicle movements at the time of greatest construction activity. There are only four major road access points into and out of Wapping, and two will be heavily congested with London Dock and Tobacco Dock Hotel construction traffic. The traffic lights out of Glamis Road take an absolute age to change so unless the lights are rephased, I fear there will be very long waits at that junction, leading to back-up of traffic onto Wapping Wall and delays on the D3 bus.

They are going to be setting up a ‘Community Liaison Working Group’ before the works begin to engage with residents and provide people a forum in which to express any concerns they have over the lifetime of the project. If I hear anything further on this, I shall post it online.

They have also set up a website which might be of interest.

Crossrail set up a Tunnelling Academy in Ilford to train young Londoners up to work on their project and it looks like Thames Tideway will be using some of those young people to construct the super sewer. With a steady stream of big construction projects in the pipeline, it is hoped that we can retain skilled new construction workers in the capital and perhaps they may still be there to help on Crossrail 2 if/when it gets the go-ahead.

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