Tunnel Boring Machine named Florence launched in Stroud as part of £25m Severn Trent project

Tuesday 24 May 2022

A Tunnel Boring Machine named ‘Florence’ has been launched as part of a £25m project to upgrade the sewer network in Stroud.

The machine was lowered into the ground on Monday in the Wallbridge area of Stroud, and started cutting on Tuesday - it will be used to install concrete pipes that measure 1.5m in diameter, which will form part of the new sewer network in Stroud.

It was named after the baby girl of Severn Trent Community Communications Officer Shannon Currall who has worked closely on the project – she gave birth to Florence few weeks earlier than expected back in March.

Florence, the machine, will travel underground for 285 metres until she reaches the reception shaft off Lodgemore Lane. This first drive involves tunnelling under Stroudwater Canal, Painswick Stream and Lodgemore Road. The tunnelling is due to be completed in August. 

Fully assembled, this state-of-the-art machine is 7.3m long, and weighs 1.56 tonnes – as much as a family car. When operating, Florence will be using 144kW of power, enough to power approximately 300 homes. 

The £25million project will see the water and waste company install over two miles of new pipes, upgrading many of the old Victorian sewers in the town, as well as removing the existing large sewer pipe that runs through the canal channel in Stroud.

The investment in Stroud will go a long way towards protecting the River Frome and other local watercourses, and the community is set to benefit from increased capacity and state-of-the-art technology that will protect homes in the area and completely transform the waste network that will last for generations.

Janine Billington, Severn Trent said: “We’re really excited about our project in Stroud. It’s one of the biggest investments we’re making over the coming years, and it will bring huge benefits to the area.

“By using state-of-the-art equipment like Florence, we’re able to significantly reduce the disruption caused to customers and get vital work such as this done quickly and safely.We’re looking forward to seeing Florence work her magic over the coming weeks.”

To find out more about this project, and keep up to date with its progress, please visit our website.