Oxford Street has been reopened to two-way traffic following significant upgrade strengthening and repair work to the utility systems under the road surface.
Over the next few months work will start on the connection of Bond Street Underground station to the new CrossRail Route, but before that could happen, the network of sewer, gas, water, telecommunication and electricity connections under Oxford Street had to be checked and upgraded if necessary.
There was a concern that the age of the water main which runs beneath Oxford Street would cause a significant problem if it were to crack.
The deputy project director David Whiteford explained:
“The 30-inch main is one of the main water feeds into London and the consequences of that breaking in the middle of Oxford Street would be horrendous.”
To solve any problems which may be associated with ground movement the Costain and Laing O’Rourke engineers inserted plastic sleeves inside the current pipes. The pulling of the sleeves did prove problematic in some areas due to the deviations the existing pipes took, but when completed around 1.2km of new plastic piping was inserted into the existing mains.
“We carried out radar surveys before we started, followed by hand-dug trial holes to confirm these surveys,
“In total, over 1000 Permits to Dig had to be issued over the 18 months. The fact this was done without a significant service strike is a testimony to the diligence of the responsible persons issuing them.”