ALE Reaches Thames Tidesway Milestone by Saving Time and Cost with Bespoke Lift System – Heavy Lift News
5 Apr 2018

ALE Reaches Thames Tidesway Milestone by Saving Time and Cost with Bespoke Lift System

Unloading components with the sheer leg.

05 April 2018

ALE has completed the second phase of work on the Thames Tideway project in London, UK with the use of a time and cost-saving lifting system.

The work was completed on behalf of FLO – the joint venture, comprised of Ferrovial Agroman and Laing O’Rourke, which is delivering the central segment of the project. 

ALE successfully loaded-in and transported 72 components, weighing between 9-119t, for two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs).

ALE secured the contract due to the confidence the client had in their R&D division’s innovative methodology that could complete the scope quickly and cost-effectively. The R&D division designed a bespoke lifting solution and cradles to hold the fully-constructed TBMs. 

ALE’s first phase of work on the project began in November 2017 with the construction of two TBM cradles in Tideway Central’s laydown area.

In January 2018, the second phase commenced with the delivery of components to the site, using a specially designed sheerleg system to unload the heaviest items and a crawler crane for the remaining components. Both methods were chosen as the best equipment to maximise the lifting schedule within the available tidal window and optimised cost -savings.


Transportation of components using SPMT.

The components were then transported to the laydown area using 8 axle lines of SPMT.

“By designing the sheerleg to specifically fit within the capacity of the jetty, we could provide the most cost-effective method to the client. The bespoke equipment our R&D division designed for the Thames Tideway project has enabled us to complete the first two phases swiftly and safely,” explained Chris Horan, ALE’s Project Manager. 

“There are so many stakeholders involved across the whole project, so we are delighted to have successfully coordinated the transportation of so many components within the tight project schedule. We are looking forward to progressing to the next phase of the Thames Tideway project.”

The next phase will involve the assembly of the components onto the cradles by the client, where ALE will then complete their scope by transporting the two TBMs on site and lowering them down a 65m-deep shaft.  

ALE is working on Tideway Central, the only one of the project’s three drive sites that requires the transportation of two TBMs, with the other two sites, Tideway East and Tideway West, each needing only one TBM. 

The Thames Tideway project involves the construction of a 25km underground tunnel, up to 66m deep, which will help to expand London’s sewerage system.   

Issued by the ALE Press Office. For more information or images, please contact Hannah Cooper on (+44) 1782 977261 or

About ALE:

ALE delivers a highly tailored, end-to-end service covering every aspect of the handling, transportation and installation of heavy, indivisible loads, including lifting, transporting, installing, ballasting, jacking and weighing. 

ALE provides strategic heavy-lift services to a wide range of sectors, including civil, oil and gas, energy, nuclear, offshore, renewables, petrochemical, ports, marine, minerals and metals and mining. 

ALE has more than 30 offices across Europe, the Far East, Africa, America, South America, the Middle East and Australia. It is fully compliant with international standards of safety and excellence, including Quality standard ISO 9001:2015, Environmental standard ISO 14001:2015, and Health and Safety Standard OHSAS 18001:2007. Further information can be found on the ALE website at

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