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