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$6.1 Billion Thames Tideway Tunnel Project Standardizes on Bentley’s ProjectWise

The project is designed to address the issue of combined sewage discharges from London’s Victorian-era sewer system that enter the tidal River Thames, and thereby enhance water quality and help sustain the river for future generations. CH2M HILL, a global leader in consulting, design, design-build, operations, and program management, is serving as program manager for this massive $6.1 billion project. As a long-time Bentley user, CH2M HILL is confident in the ability of the ProjectWise system of collaboration servers and services to increase the project team’s productivity and decrease costs in delivering this project by providing information mobility across disciplines and project phases with data integrity. Additional Bentley software being used on the project includes Structural Modeler, AECOsim Building Designer, STAAD, InRoads, gINT, Bentley Navigator, and ProjectWise InterPlot.

Currently there are more than 20 principal partners involved in the project and 50 other companies engaged in the pre-planning phase. The project team needed a scalable solution to facilitate collaboration with multiple subcontractors and allow them to accurately predict costs for this fixed-price project. The use of ProjectWise enables the team to more efficiently and economically manage design processes, project data, governance, standards, and subcontractors within a single federated and secure data environment. Moreover, the Bentley information modeling, structural, and civil applications being used enable interoperability – further supporting collaborative and streamlined multidisciplinary workflows.

Simon Williams-Gunn, engineering systems lead, Thames Tideway Tunnel project, said, “Thames Water will use ProjectWise to deliver models and drawings for planning processes based on BS 1192, enabling us to collaboratively work together within single and multiple offices and teams using the same information at once. We are going to be expanding into a huge team to deliver the project, and we wanted to put into place tools that enabled us to both accommodate the requirements at an early stage of the project and also scale into the full delivery of the project as it grows.”

ProjectWise and BS 1192

The Thames Tideway Tunnel team is taking advantage of the new ProjectWise Business Process Template that incorporates the BS 1192 processes and naming standards, with appropriate folder structures and workflow conventions. ProjectWise also provides the team with time-saving automated support of numerous key activities including searching, creating, registering, checking, and issuing documents, as well as the tools for managing CAD standards to ensure that the growing team can create consistent work.

With ProjectWise, the project team was able to more accurately cost the project and minimize the risk of needing additional resources for information management as the project grows. “We needed to predict what the costs would be due to it being a fixed-cost project. If we had put in the resources required to manually manage this much information, the cost would have probably been 10 times that of our new system, and that’s a conservative figure,” said Williams-Gunn.

3D Modeling Enables Management of an Evolving Project

The London sewer system uses a single pipe to carry both sewage and stormwater runoff. It was designed to overflow into the tidal River Thames via combined sewer overflows (CSOs) only during extreme rainfall, when the sewers reach capacity, to prevent homes and streets from flooding. However, modern-day pressures, including population growth and the increased intensity of precipitation in the U.K., have resulted in increased discharges into the tidal River Thames – with discharges occurring, on average, once per week.

To capture this overflow before it reaches the river, there will be shafts six meters across and 60 meters deep at 22 CSO sites along the path of the tunnel that drop the flow down to the main tunnel. “There is a huge amount of engineering that goes into actually capturing the CSO. So we’re building a building underground, if you like, using Structural Modeler to create 3D models,” Williams-Gunn explained. In addition, Structural Modeler and AECOsim Building Designer are being used to create 3D models of other elements and structures at the CSO sites, including the shafts, head houses, stacks, and other buildings and landscaping.

These 3D models are shared with other software tools for fluid dynamic calculations as well as GIS software for studying the environmental impact of the stacks and the resulting odor. STAAD is used for structural analysis of reinforcement issues, such as where CSOs enter the river near bridges. The 3D models are also used to produce the 2D drawings necessary for engineering, planning, and environmental needs.

Using InRoads for Tunnel Alignments

The tunnel will be London’s deepest ever – being 75 meters down at its lowest point. With the myriad underground structures beneath the city, the project team must avoid the many other tunnels and conduits used for rail, road, electricity, gas, and communications infrastructure. Moreover, it must prevent ground settlement from damaging the surrounding buildings. Settlement analysis will be conducted wherever the tunnel passes beneath or close to buildings and other structures, and mitigation efforts will be implemented as required.

The team is using InRoads to manage horizontal, vertical, and 3D alignments of both the main tunnel and various connection tunnels. In addition, it is implementing gINT to manage the huge amounts of geotechnical data needed for the tunnel, as its prior software was unable to handle the necessary quantity of data.

Delivering the Right Information to the Right People

To meet the needs of various audiences and stakeholders, the Thames Tideway Tunnel project team will employ easy-to-use web tools to provide the required information to project decision makers. Moreover, Bentley Navigator will supply web-based access to 3D models for design review and clash detection. In addition, Bentley’s ProjectWise InterPlot will be used for publishing both web-based document sets and paper construction documents. The goal is to make all project information available to the entire team on the web.

To read a case study on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project, visit

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