A remote-controlled tunnelling machine has begun digging under the A65 in Ilkley as part of Yorkshire Water’s scheme to reduce sewage discharges into the river Wharfe during periods of bad weather.
A small statue of Saint Barbara - the patron saint of miners and tunnellers – will be erected at6 the site. Skipton’s Reverend Father Christopher Angel performed a ceremony to bless the machine before tunnelling began.
Once completed in January 2024, the new sewer will reduce the frequency of discharges from Rivadale CSO by 40% and halve the volume of discharges.
Trenchless technology will be used 5-8m underground, with boring machinery controlled remotely to keep disruption to a minimum while laying 800m of new sewer. This reduces the need to close the road as it lays pipework behind it and sends the earth back to the staging site where it is cleaned and recycled for use in other projects in the area.
While the work is carried out, Ilkley Wharfe View car park will be closed.
Ben Roche, director of wastewater at Yorkshire Water, said: “This project, which forms a major part of our investment in Ilkley, is progressing well and we’re pleased to begin tunnelling today.
“Using trenchless technology will enable us to bore under the A65 and lay the sewer remotely, significantly reducing disruption in Ilkley. For most of the project, there will be limited signs of our activity underground.
“Laying a new sewer to accommodate higher flows of wastewater during periods of heavy and prolonged rainfall will ultimately reduce the number and volume of discharges from Rivadale CSO, helping to improve water quality in the Wharfe.
The project is expected to be completed in January 2024.