Work has just started on a £114m scheme in Preston to stop excess waste water flowing in the River Ribble during storm conditions.

The new scheme will see eight shafts dug to a depth of 27 metres below the surface, and then the construction of five micro tunnels, which will eventually connect to a storm storage tunnel.

The tunnels are being dug using some of the latest boring technology available. A Micro Tunnel Boring Machine (MTBM) will be used to cut through the rock, and the debris from its cutting head diverted through drainage pipes, which will be pushed along behind the machine by hydraulic jacks.

United Utilities are the waste water company who are carrying out the scheme. Their Principal Project Manager, Brian Edwards, stated:

“The project has been planned to help the river and the Fylde coast comply with European legislation.

“Once complete, improvements should be seen to river quality and shellfish waters along the estuary and to beaches at Southport, Ainsdale, St Annes and Blackpool.”

Work on the first of the eight shafts at Watery Lane started last week, with further shafts at Marsh Lane and Fishergate planned. When the works are complete, the tunnels will transfer the storm water to the new storage tank and then on to the waste water treatment works at nearby Clifton Marsh.

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