Burrowing beneath London: Bechtel passes halfway mark on massive Crossrail project

Fri, 2015-06-05 06:00 -- SCC Staff

Prime Minister David Cameron calls Crossrail "an incredible engineering feat" during an event marking completion of Bechtel's tunneling work under London; Mayor Boris Johnson is on the left.

Crossrail will move 200 million passengers a year through London and increase the city's rail capacity when completed in late 2018. It's been a challenge for Council Lead Partner Bechtel, hired as Crossrail Limited's delivery partner on the massive project. The tunneling phase of the project – a mammoth undertaking completed on schedule -- wrapped up this week. London Mayor Boris Johnson and British Prime Minister David Cameron  were among those on hand to celebrate.

"One of the biggest challenges on this project was tunneling beneath centuries of tightly woven infrastructure," Bechtel's Ailie MacAdam said. As the company's managing director for infrastructure in Europe and Africa, she should know. "Huge tunnel-boring machines have been chewing up London's earth around the clock, moving through ground that's honeycombed with networks of sewer lines, water and gas mains, foundations of buildings, and even some London Underground tunnels dating back to the 1860s.

"To carry out this tunneling safely in such a busy urban environment is testament to the skills and dedication of everyone involved," she added. "Collaboration with our customers, contractors, local businesses and the community has been integral to our success, and we want to thank them for their support."

Improving lives of working people
British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed. He was on hand at an event recognizing the completion of the tunneling portion for Crossrail.

"Crossrail is an incredible feat of engineering that will help to improve the lives of working people in London and beyond. The project is a vital part of our long-term plan to build a more resilient economy by helping businesses to grow, compete and create jobs right along the supply chain."

Bechtel fielded a team of 200 project managers, engineers and specialists in rail systems and sustainability for the project. The completion of the tunneling phase means Crossrail is now 65% complete. The company will now turn its attention to integrating and finishing the rail and station systems before testing begins in 2017.

The company also has a separate contract with Network Rail to upgrade the existing rail network outside London and integrate it with Crossrail.

Related resources…
Video: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions on Crossrail
Bechtel report: A Roadmap for Resilience