Press Release

Balfour Beatty’s Thames Tideway Tunnel joint venture makes £2.3 million nautical investment

20 September 2016


The Balfour Beatty, BAM Nuttall and Morgan Sindall  joint venture (BMB) proudly showcased two specialist tug boats this week which have been procured to support the delivery of the west section of the Thames Tideway Tunnel project.

Designed to be used on inland waterways, the two NavTug 18TS tugs perfectly suit the requirements for working on the River Thames.  Key features include the ability to push and tow; adaptability to work with both low and high tides; a unique system that allows the wheel house to be raised and lowered to ensure clear visibility at all times; low emissions engines and low noise outputs.

Their maiden voyage took place this week when cabins were sailed 27.3 nautical miles up the River Thames from Tilbury Docks to the main drive site for Tideway West at Carnwath Road in Wandsworth which will be used for the site office set up.

The tugs will be used to haul barges up and down the Thames carrying materials to the work sites and assisting with the removal of spoil from the tunnel excavation.   Enhancing the BMB ‘more by river’ strategy an average of two barges a day will access the main work site at Carnwath Road contributing to a reduction in lorry movements on the roads of South West London.

Chris Hughes, BMB Project Director said:  “Our new tugs were chosen for their compatibility with the unique River Thames environment, and their high specification in terms of noise attenuation and emissions.  The investment made by the joint venture in purchasing these tugs demonstrates our commitment to delivering innovative sustainable transport solutions for this unique project”.

Initially they will be crewed by boat masters from our marine subcontractor Bennetts Barges but will also be used to support in-house training to develop the next generation of boat masters and senior mates for the River Thames.


Notes to editors

Working in a three-way, equal, joint venture BAM Nuttall, Morgan Sindall and Balfour Beatty (BMB) will construct the £416 million West section of the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Formed in 2013, the joint venture brings together extensive experience of collaborative working, innovative technical solutions and key personnel with a wealth of tunnelling project experience.

The 7km by 6.5m internal diameter West tunnel will run from Acton Storm Tanks in Ealing to Carnwarth Road Riverside in Wandsworth and will include seven separate work sites en-route and the Frogmore connection tunnel at Wandsworth. 

Upon completion, the Thames Tideway Tunnel will be the biggest infrastructure project ever under taken by the UK water industry and will ensure London’s sewerage system is ‘fit for purpose’ by preventing millions of tonnes of sewage pollution from being discharged into the tidal River Thames every year.

Image: Specialist tug boats on their maiden voyage

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