West Ella Worm emerges! Tunnelling machine breaks through ground to complete its work on flood scheme tunnel

Mon, 25 Feb 2019

A 17-tonne tunnel-boring machine broke through earth at the end of a 600m (more than a 3rd of a mile) tunnel it has been excavating for a major East Riding flood scheme.

Named the ‘West Ella Worm’ by local schoolchildren, the 22ft long machine has spent the last seven months underground, diligently cutting through tonnes of chalk rock to install the tunnel as part of the Anlaby and East Ella Flood Alleviation Scheme (AEEFAS).

The machine finally surfaced today (Monday 25 February).

The West Ella Worm is piloted by a driver who sits behind the 6ft wide cutting head and is operated by sub-contractors Active Tunnelling Limited.

The machine was given its name by pupils from Springhead Primary School in Anlaby, who helped to unveil the West Ella Worm at a ceremony in July last year, before it started its excavation work.

A second tunnel-boring machine – named Boring Betty – arrived on site in Anlaby last week and will soon be lowered into a launch pit to start work on the second half of the tunnel.

When complete the tunnel pipeline will stretch a total of 1.5km (almost one mile) from Kerry Pit, near West Ella Valley, to Anlaby.

It will link together a series of watercourses and a huge water storage lagoon designed to divert flood water away from residential areas at times of heavy rainfall.

The £22million flood scheme is one of the largest currently under construction in the UK and is designed to reduce the risk of flooding to more than 4,000 homes and businesses in the Anlaby, East Ella and Hessle areas.

Work on AEEFAS is due to be complete by spring 2020.

The three-year flood scheme is being delivered by East Riding of Yorkshire Council in partnership with Hull City Council and the Environment Agency.

The council successfully secured funding for the scheme through the Flood Defence Grant in Aid (FDGiA) administered by the Environment Agency, and Local Growth Fund (LGF) through the Humber Growth Deal by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership.

The work is being carried out by contractors NMCM Plc (formerly North Midland Construction Plc) and sub-contractors Active Tunnelling Limited.