A river runs through it…

Well not quite a river as such.. As the BBC reports, Water Service Chief Executive, Katharine Bryan [and not an NIO minister? – Ed] has announced the awarding of a contract to build a new sewer for Belfast.. to Morgan Est and Belfast-based contractor Farrans (Construction) Ltd (also involved in the new Westlink construction), and worth either £100million or £91.8 million.. depending on which press release you read.. The Water Service website should have details, check the 21st Century Infrastructure link but maps and progress are not yet available.. natch.Interesting though, the WaterService website does mention the solution..

Commencing in September 2004, and with tunnelling work planned to start in 2005, the entire project will include[added emphasis] :-

the construction of a new 9.0 kilometre tunnel up to 4.0 m in diameter
construction of new sewers
construction of storm water tanks
the repair of 500 existing sewers

The press release from Water Service

2. The Belfast Sewers Project involves work to upgrade the existing sewer networks and the construction of a large diameter drainage tunnel to increase stormwater capacity. A contract to upgrade the sewer network was started in 2005. There are approximately 1,800 km of sewers covering a catchment area of 42 square kilometres. The tunnel contract is the final part of the Belfast Sewers Project and will provide the required increased capacity in the sewerage system.[added emphasis]

While the three year contract mentioned by Morgan Est includes

Under the terms of the deal, worth approximately £61.5 million to Morgan Est, the companies will design, build, test and commission a 9.4 km tunnel, up to four metres in diameter, under the city centre to the Duncrue Wastewater Treatment Works. The contract also involves the construction of a 16 m3/sec capacity Terminal Pumping Station housed inside a 40-metre diameter underground structure, a new 6,000m³ stormwater tank and marine outfall.

At least the aim of the project is admirable, if overdue..

“Many of the existing sewers in the Belfast area date from the Victorian era. This massive scheme will significantly improve the water quality in the Lagan and Blackstaff rivers, reduce the risk of flooding in the Belfast area and ensure compliance with stringent European Union environmental standards.”