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Contractors World International

Innovative Use of


Murphy Crossrail Work Offers

Testbed for the Future

How does a challenging tunnel project become a dy-

namic testbed for future technologies, safety solutions,

mechanical innovation and sustainable thinking?

This question has been solved by the J. Murphy &

Sons Limited (Murphy) team during the ambitious

£14.8bn London Crossrail project.

The 3 km section running under the Thames from

Plumstead to Woolwich, saw Murphy introduce new

thinking and innovation.

This included installing pioneering ‘smart infrastruc-

ture’ fibre optic sensors, using sustainable ideas such as

groundwater rather than po-

table water, the company de-

signing and creating a new

safety mechanism for its tele-

handler fleet, plus the com-

pany showed its surprising

approach by using a cherry

picker deep underground.

The project was a joint

venture between Hochtief

and Murphy (HMJV) and

included the construction of a total of 42 km of new twin

bore tunnels, using two 1000-tonne boring machines.

The £260m tunnel project was highly complex with

a distinct set of challenges as well as presenting oppor-

tunities for Murphy to demonstrate its ability to adapt

the best technology for the environment and work with

the latest innovations.

Murphy fitted a fibre optics system embedded per-

manently within the concrete rings supporting the tunnel

structure, allowing data collection and providing greater

knowledge of how structures behave when in use.

Murphy introduced meas-

ures to ensure safer opera-

tion of plant and equipment

in the Crossrail project.

Contractors World International Vol 7 No 4