Late-running nature reserve tunnelling project to be completed by “end of March”

Photo of an excavator at the Wessex Water tunnelling compound.

Wessex Water says the tunnelling work it has been carrying out from a compound near the ‘duck pond’ in Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve will finally be completed by the end of March, nearly five months later than originally planned.

The company reports that it has successfully tunnelled beneath the nearby M4 motorway as part of a scheme to build a vital new sewer pipe for future generations in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

The £15 million Frome Valley Relief Sewer (FVRS) scheme will provide additional capacity for large new housing developments in the area, diverting wastewater flows from South Gloucestershire to the Bristol sewage treatment works in Avonmouth.

The section under the M4 forms part of a new 5km-long pipe between Frampton Cotterell and Bradley Stoke. It completes a “missing link” in the existing FVRS scheme, which was constructed in the 1990s.

The work has involved creating a temporary vehicle access point on Bradley Stoke Way and a temporary footpath alongside the existing track between the Bradley Stoke Way bridge and the Three Brooks lake.

Scrub clearance began in March 2017, followed by the start of construction and tunnelling works in late April 2017.

The work was scheduled to last six months and the temporary access point off Bradley Stoke Way was due to be discontinued and the land returned to its original condition by the end of November 2017.

Asked why the work was still going on in late February 2018 (with no updates having appeared on the town council’s dedicated FVRS webpage since 16th October 2017), a Wessex Water spokesperson told the Journal:

“We were required to build an additional sewer diversion in and around the nature reserve, which delayed our connection works to the existing sewer and meant we were working during the winter months when days are shorter and sewer flows are higher.”

“We’ve worked as quickly and efficiently as possible, remaining mindful of the need to protect the reserve and its wildlife at all times.”

“We are in the process of completing manhole and sewer connections in the area.”

“We remain on track to complete work at the nature reserve, including reinstatement of the roads, by the end of March.”

Speaking about progress on the wider 5km link, Wessex Water project manager Mike Bryant said:

“We’ve excavated up to 3.1km and crossed numerous features such as the River Frome, although the sewer is predominantly being constructed across fields and has had minimal impact on the public.”

Wessex Water’s new pipeline, due for completion in June, will enable the company to provide sewerage services to new developments in areas such as Yate, Emersons Green, Harry Stoke and Filton.

Frome Valley is one of many projects included in Wessex Water’s £2 billion investment programme to maintain and improve services up to 2020.

Aerial view of the Wessex Water tunnelling compound in the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve (July 2017).

Photos: 1 Excavator at the Wessex Water tunnelling compound near the ‘duck pond’ (February 2018). 2 Aerial view of the tunnelling compound (July 2017).

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 4 & 5). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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