National Grid gears up for big dig as tunnel boring machine arrives on Humberside

160 metre long tunnel boring machine being delivered to Humberside to start year-long excavation beneath the River Humber

29 Nov 2017

• Components for 160 metre long tunnel boring machine arrive at Goxhill near Hull over two days next week
• The machine will excavate a 5km tunnel under the River Humber to carry a replacement gas pipeline
• Some delays for motorists on local roads during the slow moving deliveries from Immingham Docks

National Grid is gearing up to start its big dig under the River Humber with the parts for a 160 metre long tunnel boring machine arriving on site at Goxhill near Hull during Tuesday and Wednesday next week (5/6 December).


After it has been assembled on site early in the new year, the machine will begin a five kilometre, year-long journey under the river to emerge on the north bank at Paull. It will create a 3.65 metre diameter tunnel as it travels, around 35 metres below the river bed.


Once the tunnel is finished, a new 42 inch diameter gas pipeline will be laid inside it to replace an existing one. The gas pipeline which currently crosses the river is laid in a trench just below the river bed but is at risk of being exposed by shifting tides. Work has been carried out to keep it buried but the Humber Pipeline Replacement project offers a long-term solution.


Steve Ellison, Lead Project Manager said: “We’ve been planning this for months and are very excited about the prospect of the delivery of the machine so that we can make a start on the tunnel. We hope tunnelling will start early in the new year and we expect to see the machine emerge on the other side of the river around a year later.”


National Grid has awarded the £100m contract to build the tunnel to a joint venture made up of Skanska, PORR Bau GmbH and A. Hak.


The tunnel boring machine has been built in Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany and, given its size, has been disassembled to make the journey to Goxhill near Hull. It will travel by road to Rotterdam, ship to Immingham Docks and then by road again to Goxhill.


The four largest sections of the 510 tonne machine will arrive in two separate deliveries on Tuesday and Wednesday next week (5/6 December). The deliveries will be moving through Goxhill between 12pm - 3pmon both days. As the vehicles are slow-moving, there will be some delays to motorists during this time. The delivery vehicles will then leave Goxhill between 5pm - 8pm using the same route.


The vehicles will travel from Immingham Docks to Goxhill along the A15 and B1206 via Barrow upon Humber. They will then progress along College Road, entering Goxhill via Thornton Road and on to National Grid’s site via Ferry Road and East Marsh Road. This route has been carefully planned and agreed with the highway authorities and the police to make sure it is safe. The delivery vehicles will also be escorted by police officers.


People with questions about the delivery can contact National Grid via email at or by telephone on 0800 988 9144. There is also a project website:

Contact for media information only

Press officer - Infrastructure Projects
Jeanette Unsworth
+44 (0)7785 290230

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Notes for editors

Notes to Editors:

National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world and was named Responsible Business of the Year 2014 by Business in the Community. This accolade acknowledges all of our efforts in getting involve with the things that really matter to us and to society. We own and manage the grids that connect people to the energy they need, from whatever the source.  In Britain and the north-eastern states of the US we run systems that deliver gas and electricity to millions of people, businesses and communities.

In Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.  In the North Eastern US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles.

National Grid in the UK:

  • We own the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales, operating it across Great Britain
  • We own and operate the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain
  • We also own a number of related businesses including LNG importation, land remediation and metering
  • Our portfolio of other businesses is mainly concerned with infrastructure provision and related services where we can exploit our core skills and assets to create value. These businesses operate in areas such as Metering, Grain LNG Import, Interconnectors and Property. National Grid Carbon Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Grid. It undertakes Carbon Capture Storage related activities on behalf of National Grid.

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