Tunnelling Project Award for Joseph Gallagher

Following a rigorous live judging process, Joseph Gallagher emerged as the winner of Tunnelling Project of the Year (Under $100 Million) for their work on Nine Elms Southbank Cable Tunnel.

In a glittering ceremony held at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London on 6 December, individuals and organisations across the geo-tech industry were honoured across 14 categories in a night of recognition dedicated to celebrating exceptional achievement. The Tunnelling Festival brought together the New Civil Engineer Tunnelling Summit and Tunnelling Awards participants into one exciting event.

The project team at the awards ceremony in London

The judges praised the project for how this critical piece of infrastructure used a modern application of traditional tunnelling techniques and without impact to sensitive third parties. The local community were well engaged, and the project exceeded client’s expectations.

Tunnelling Project Overview

Clancy Docwra, principal contractor on behalf of UK Power Networks, appointed Joseph Gallagher to design and build a spur tunnel and connection chamber into an existing 132kV cable tunnel in the Battersea Nine Elms regeneration opportunity area.

Paul Challinor, Project Manager present the project to the live judging panel.

Passing close to existing third-party rail infrastructure and clean/dirty water assets. This tunnelling project used extensive, carefully designed and sequenced handworks to construct an underground reinforced concrete junction chamber; under/over and around the existing UK Power Networks tunnel starting from inside the shield used to drive the new tunnel. Automated monitoring removed the risk for surveyors during junction chamber construction. And a bespoke internal steel strapping was used to support the existing wedge block cable tunnel during construction of the underground chamber, reducing the risk of existing tunnel movement and potential cable damage. Enhancing local relations, an existing building was modified to act as acoustic shed allowing works to run 24hrs for a year, with no complaints from the community.

“I am incredibly proud of this award, I put my heart and soul into this tunnelling project. For Joseph Gallagher, it is well earned recognition of just one of the many exciting and technically complex projects we deliver every day.”

Paul Challinor Project Manager, Joseph Gallagher.

Joseph Gallagher operate a behavioural safety programme known as Living Incident Free Everyday (LIFE). It is a way of going to work that puts safety at the top of the agenda and is at the core of everything Joseph Gallagher does. The final total was 118,110 injury-free man hours worked on the project.

This continues a year of great success for the project team of UK Power Networks, Clancy Docwra COWI and Joseph Gallagher. The project received an ICE London Civil Engineering Award in May, for Best Infrastructure Project and a United Kingdom Society of Trenchless Technology Award in September for New Installation Award Energy & Communications. This award was for demonstrating a key role in successful new installations of cables, ducts or pipelines using trenchless techniques.

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Microtunnelling Projects in 2018

It has been a busy year for microtunnelling projects and the team in the Middle East.

New crane to support microtunnelling project in Middle East
Sumitomo SC700-2 leaving UK in November

Our Sumitomo SC700-2 was shipped to Abu Dhabi in November.

We continue our two year project for MACE, one of the oldest and most respected companies in the United Arab Emirates, providing specialist microtunnelling services. We are using three ISEKI machines and Herrenknecht equipment from the Joseph Gallagher fleet to install 25km of new pipeline from Baniyas to Shahama.

We opened our new office in Abu Dhabi.

Working in the Arabian Gulf, we completed a 81 metre bore in just three days. We were subcontracted by Panorama to complete a water carrier pipe for Dilmunia a resort style luxury island, off the north-east coast of the Isalnd of Muharraq. The tunnel passed under and extremely busy dual carriage way, where we were just three metres from the live road surface. We successfully installed the pipe using an ISEKI TCC1300 machine with no incident of interruption to any of the critical infrastructure we passed under.

Mictrotunnelling project in North Sitra

We had record breaking production rates in Bahrain at the beginning of 2018, microtunnelling a pipeline in North Sitra.

Raquel joins the microtunnelling projects team
Raquel Viray

In 2019, we are also joined by Raquel Viray providing administration support to the team.

The successful completion of these, and our other current projects in 2019, continue to demonstrate our teams capabilities at the forefront of microtunnelling and trenchless technology in the Middle East.

February Projects Update

Production rates continue at record breaking pace.

Following the successful installation of our first microtunnel of 2018, Joseph Gallagher Middle East have continued to progress at a productive rate.


We mobilised to the secondary location of our project in North Sitra last week, completing the second successful bore with record production times achieved on a welded steel sleeve; comprising of three welds and 18 metres in a single shift.

Huge congratulations to all the team; with a special mention for our new operator Supalerk Charernying on completing a difficult bore with mixed ground conditions accurately and in minimal time.

NRC Plant (part of the Joseph Gallagher Group) are sending two mini telescopic cranes out to Bahrain to support current microtunnelling projects. The advantage of using mini telescopic cranes is their very small footprint dimension. This makes them the ideal choice for supporting microtunnelling in Bahrain; particularly where Non Disruptive Road Crossing (NDRC) have restricted site areas due to the location of the critical roads.

A full package of spares will be accompanying each machine and onsite training of local personnel in Bahrain will take place upon their arrival.

United Arab Emirates

ISEKI Microtunneling (part of the Joseph Gallagher Group) are on track to  complete the second bore by the end of this week on our project in Abu Dhabi for Tecton.


Josie Gallagher Group Chairman and Steve Harvey Group Managing Director paid a visit to our new offices in Lebanon this month. While there they met with Riyad Hakim of HESCO our representative in Lebanon.

Choosing the right microtunnelling machine for ground conditions in the Middle East

Microtunnelling machine for project in Bahrain

For placing pipelines and service routes microtunnelling is increasingly popular in the Middle East, but this is not without complexity and risk. Ground conditions can be particularly challenging, with abrasive soils, higher ambient temperatures and high ground water tables on costal projects all posing potential risks.

The key to successful microtunnelling projects is the correct selection of machine, as borehole surveys and old plans may not give a true picture of what is likely to be encountered. The ISEKI range of machines are made to suit all ground types as was evident on our recent project in North Sitra, Bahrain.

Early into the tunnel drive the ISEKI TCS 600 Rock Machine encountered a mixed face of rock and sand with cobbles and boulders on the tunnel horizon. Although this slowed production slightly, the combination of our experienced operators and the capabilities of our chosen microtunnelling machine dealt extremely well with ground conditions, completing the installation successfully.

Our ISEKI range of microtunnelling equipment sets the standard in terms of versatility and reliability in the Middle East. We own and operate over 30 microtunnelling systems with internal diameters ranging from 250mm to 2800mm and ten of these machines are currently based between Bahrain, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, meaning we can mobilise machines quickly across the region.

First microtunnel of 2018 completed in Bahrain

Joseph Gallagher are proud to announce we have successfully installed our first microtunnel of 2018 in Bahrain, using one of our Iseki TBM’s.

The 35 metres of 600mm steel pipe runs underneath a road in coastal conditions, forming part of a new sewer network. Despite encountering some unexpected ground conditions the brand new TCS 600 Rock machine dealt extremely well with the rock, boulder and sand interface.

This successful completion further demonstrates our team’s capabilities at the forefront of microtunnelling technology in the Middle East.