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Crossrail soil goes by river to avoid lorries through the streets

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:57 05 October 2010

FIVE million tonnes of material excavated from the Crossrail tunnelling are to be transported by boat on the Thames for landscaping projects, the company is announcing today. Crossrail is to use barges and ships to move excavated soil by river instead of fleets of lorries thundering through the streets

By Mike Brooke

FIVE million tonnes of material excavated from the Crossrail tunnelling are to be transported by boat along the Thames for use in landscaping projects, the company is announcing today.

Crossrail has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of London Authority to use barges and ships to move excavated soil by river instead of fleets of lorries thundering through the streets of East London.

It would need half-a-million lorry journeys if it went by road.

"Moving five million tonnes of earth requires a solution of Herculean proportions," said London Mayor Boris Johnson.

"Barges avoid a huge number of lorries grinding through the streets and make better use of the river."

Among the first soil being excavated is 300,000 tonnes at Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs, the first Crossrail station under construction which began in May.

Only a third is being reused on the site, the rest being transported by barge down to Essex, avoiding an estimated 20,000 lorry loads.

Much of this soil is already being transported to Pitsea landfill site to transform it into high quality land for public access, without disturbing the nearby tidal mudflat, which is a 'site of special scientific interest.'

Other landscape projects include a 1,500-acre Thames estuary nature reserve at Wallasea Island in Essex for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, using four million cubic metres of soil to create one of the largest wetland nature reserves in Europe.


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