Progress within the civil engineering sector despite the pandemic is exciting. Spurred by the record £11bn government investment to kickstart the construction industry, many projects that were held in fearful limbo are going ahead regardless. Big UK civils projects were almost unphased by lockdowns last year, and in fact were accelerated despite initial concerns on how they might be impacted. Figures from industry analysts shows a 17% forecasted increase in Construction project-starts in 2021, which instils confidence in the construction sector, particularly in civil engineering.
Thames Tideway – London’s Super Sewer
Along and below the River Thames, this record excavation and tunnelling project is going ahead to implement a new 25km sewer, with some connections to the current sewer chambers already prepped for installation. This project will improve water quality in the system and replace an 150 year-old system designed for a population less than half the current size. A win for wildlife and the city! Rebuilding riverbanks along the Thames in Central London as the system meanders through the city are continues, keeping engineers in employment.
An exciting aspect of this project is the extensive use of the river to transport construction materials to the various points along the project to limit congestions in the city and dramatically reduce the impact of CO2 in the heart of London’s ultra low emission zone!
HS2 – Connecting the North & South in 2 hours
Showing off Britain’s engineering skills with a highly energy efficient new rail service comprising of 140 miles of new track, 150 new bridges, 32 miles of tunnel, 50 viaducts and the planting of over 7,000,000 new tree shrubs.
This project aims to reduce carbon emissions whilst increasing the rail capacity between London and Birmingham (as part of Phase 1). The second phase of the project aims to improve links on the West Coast line and to the North West by connecting the North and South of the country.
Much controversy about whether this project should go ahead is due to the significant costs and impact to homes throughout the country given the economic impact of several lockdowns in the UK but Boris Johnson gave the go ahead, putting faith in the construction industry as a worthy long-term investment for the future in terms of the economy, employment and the environment.
Hinkley Point C – a new generation of nuclear reactors for low-carbon electricity
This expansive nuclear power project aims to offset 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year over a 60 year lifespan. Based in the Southwest, it’s great to see big civil engineering development happening nationwide and not just in the major cities. EDF’s response to Covid-19 focused on keeping the workforce safe with regular testing to ensure the project can continue to progress safely, without delay.
Highways England regional framework - £8.7bn investment in highways works on the national road network
Supported by 13 regional contractors, these road works spanning 2019 to 2024 to improve British roads, improve road safety and reduce traffic are also underway as we inch closer to a world out of lockdown. The framework is comprised of over 90 separate schemes with increased spend expected leading up to 2025!
Lower Thames Crossing – connecting Essex and Kent to relieve congestion on the M25 Dartford Crossing & Blackwall Tunnel
We recently wrote a post about the exciting Lower Thames project and the opportunities it brings with it alongside employment. Momentarily delayed by covid-fears at the beginning of the first lockdown, the project is progressing forward which is great news for roadworks engineers and locals in Kent & Essex who will benefit from this alternative route between the two counties.