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United Kingdom: spotlight on the Hydrofraise® in action on the Tideway project

It’s a first: a quieter machine has been developed to excavate the London subsoil.

Hydrofraise® with grippers, Hydrofraise® XS – our machines are continually evolving to adapt to the constraints of the environments in which they operate. Currently, an electrically-powered Hydrofraise® is at work beneath the streets of London as part of the Tideway project. By developing electric equipment, Soletanche Bachy is helping the commissioning authority, Tideway, in its efforts to respect the environment.

Tideway innovation sparks development of quieter, electric excavation machine

An innovative, electrically-powered Hydrofraise® diaphragm walling machine is being used to help build London’s new super sewer.

The machine, which will help dig the shaft for the main tunnel at Tideway’s Chambers Wharf site in Bermondsey, will run off mains electricity instead of diesel.

Martin Stanley, Geotechnical Construction Manager at Tideway, said: “As well as being more environmentally friendly, it also means the machine will be quieter when it’s in use. This type of Hydrofraise® machine is thought to be one of the first of its kind in the world, so we are really proud we’ve been able to launch it and will continue to look at ways of reducing our carbon footprint and minimising any disruption to our neighbours.”

The machine, which started digging at the end of August, has been developed by the team building the east section of the Thames Tideway Tunnel – a joint venture of Costain, VINCI Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche.

Soletanche Bachy Group owns and operates the Hydrofraise®, which was developed and manufactured in house.

It will be used to dig shafts at Chambers Wharf, Deptford Church Street and King Edward Memorial Park in Tower Hamlets. Afterwards it will return to the Soletanche Bachy Group for projects elsewhere around the world.

Check out the Tideway website to know more about the project.

Facts and figures about Tideway


  • 25km interception, storage and transfer tunnel running below River Thames
  • 3 works packages
  • the East works package entrusted to the Costain, VINCI Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche JV
  • 2 sections of tunnel of 5.5 et 4.6 km
  • 5 large shafts: diameters of between 17 and 25 m

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