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The blue hoardings of our construction sites became a familiar part of the landscape along the A259. Twelve sites were in construction at the same time to create the new infrastructure.



Working simultaneously, three tunnel-boring machines were used to create the tunnel between Brighton Marina and Peacehaven.

At the eastern end, ‘Marina’ connected the new chamber in Brighton Marina to Marine Drive Pumping Station.

‘Alice’, as named by local schoolchildren, worked her way from Ovingdean to Marine Drive before being lifted out of the ground and returned to Ovingdean to make her way to Portobello.

‘Hollyblue’, also named by local schoolchildren, worked from Peacehaven constructing the tunnel between the treatment works and Portobello, as well as from the works to Friars Bay.

Working around the clock, the miners were underground for up to 12 hours a day, constructing up to 37 metres of tunnel during each shift. Due to the natural undulation of the landscape, the tunnel depth varies from eight to 40 metres below ground level.

The arrival of 'Alice' at Portobello in June 2011 after 11 months' work marked the end of the land-based tunnelling.

Pumping stations and access shafts

On an island between the A259 carriageways, Marine Drive Pumping Station is one of two that raise the wastewater so it can flow by gravity to Peacehaven. The building was designed as a landmark feature, providing a gateway into the city of Brighton and Hove from the east.

The second pumping station is at Portobello – the site of a Victorian wastewater treatment works. This pumping station is constructed below the level of the road to retain uninterrupted views out to sea from Telscombe Tye.

Six access shafts connect the local sewer networks to the tunnel at various points along the route.

The shafts also gave us the opportunity to inspect each tunnel-boring machine and make any necessary repairs before they continued their journey.

Long sea outfall

A shaft at Friars Bay enabled us to tunnel to the new long sea outfall using a fourth tunnelling machine – ‘Ava Francis’.

Ava was recovered from the seabed when this section was complete. A dredger was also offshore preparing a channel on the seabed for the outfall.

The outfall was constructed in Norway and floated in sections to Shoreham Port where it was prepared to be put into place.

Once the preparations were complete and on a spring high tide, both lock gates at the port were opened for the first time in the port’s history. The pipe was then floated to Friars Bay and sunk on to the channel before being buried.

Our film below shows each stage of the work on the outfall.

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