Anglian Water will start drilling under A1 near RAF Wittering to repair water main

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Anglian Water will use cutting edge technology to drill underneath one of the UK’s major roads to repair a water mains pipe.

The water company is working with specialist drilling company, Conroy’s, to drill underneath the road, near RAF Wittering, in order to replace a section of water pipe, using cutting edge drilling techniques to complete this work with no disruption to road users.

As preparation for this significant engineering work Anglian Water dug boreholes on either side of the A1 in October to profile the ground they are drilling through.

Fiona Hallam, Anglian Water project manager, said: “The boreholes showed the ground underneath the road was made up of a number of different types of rock, so Conroy’s will use a drill specifically designed for rocky ground to complete the work.

“The technique we are using is called ‘directional drilling’. This method was chosen as it gives us better steering capability and accuracy - there’s no room for error when you’re drilling under a major road!

“Once the sleeve has been drilled using this directional drilling process, we’re using a specialist technique known as ‘slip lining’ to pull the new main pipe through the old one so no open trenches will be required in the 

“By using these two techniques we’ll be able to complete the work with no disruption to road users.

“We started the project this week and we anticipate we’ll complete the work within two to three weeks. The relatively short distance we are drilling means we could normally complete this work in a few days, but the rock we’re drilling through means it will take longer.”