Articles & Case Studies

Molly the Mole digs deep for Scottish Water

Posted: Thursday 23rd June 2011

Scottish Water’s £22million Airdrie Environmental Project has entered a key phase with the launch of a massive tunnelling machine.

The tunnelling machine – named “Molly the Mole” by Aimee Stewart, a local school pupil at Alexandra Primary – will tunnel beneath Airdrie to create a new storm water transfer pipeline.

29 schoolchildren – Aimee’s entire class – attended a launch event, where Molly was unveiled and the painted tunnelling machine prepared for action. A massive 450 tonne crane has lifted the 63 tonne tunnelling machine into a massive 8m deep pit, where it will proceed to create the 1.2 km long sewer by slowly progressing deep beneath the town.

The project will protect Airdrie’s natural environment and reduce the risk of flooding at Cairnhill Road, where previous flooding events have caused inconvenience for local residents and commuters.

Scottish Water’s contractor for the project, Byzak, has spent more than a year carefully planning the project and are now on site at various locations around Airdrie.

The new storm sewer will run as deep as 40 metres in areas, starting near Locks Street and travelling eastwards towards Airdrie Railway Station car park where it will connect with the rest of the network. It will alleviate pressure on the existing waste water infrastructure and ensure Scottish Water continues to meet strict EU environmental guidelines .

Neil McCulloch, Project Manager, Scottish Water, said: “The risk of flooding under the railway bridge where Broomknoll Street meets Cairnhill Road will be greatly reduced by this project and eight local properties will also be removed from the internal flooding register. The flooding causes road closures and renders the area impassable to pedestrians and drivers.

“In addition the environment in the South Burn, which runs through Centenary Park, will benefit greatly from the new storm transfer sewer which will redirect sewer overflows to a new storm tank and subsequently treated at the Daldowie waste water treatment works near Uddingston. The project will also enhance the waste water infrastructure in Milton Lane, close to Airdrie Business Centre.

“In order to complete the works, road closures are required at Broomknoll Street, Cairnhill Road and Hogg Street. We will communicate the dates of closure through our website, the dedicated facebook page and the local media. These road closures have been carefully programmed to minimise disruption by coinciding them with school holidays as much as possible.

“Prominent diversion signs will be in place for all traffic while these works are ongoing. We appreciate the understanding of local people while we complete this essential work.”

Geoff Aitkenhead, Scottish Water, said: “This is one of the largest projects that Scottish Water is doing in Scotland in the 2010-2015 investment period. The project will last around 90 weeks and be completed late 2012 or early 2013.

“We have communicated regularly with the local community to ensure the work has as little impact as possible.

“We are ensuring local businesses and residents are kept aware of these through letter drops, posters, press releases, school bag drops, face to face meetings etc.”

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