A STATE-OF-THE-ART machine drilling under the streets of Paisley has 'broken through' as work to improve the town's water quality nears its completion. 

The tunnel boring machine, named Tunnelling Tanya by pupil's at the town's St Charles Primary School, completed the final section in Saucelhill Park in the middle of a one mile long sewer as part of a £17m project. 

Tunnelling Tanya, and one other TBM before her, have been constructing the tunnel since autumn 2016 as part of the project, which also includes the installation of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) in the town centre.

READ MORE: School children welcome 'Tunnelling Tanya' to Paisley

She broke through at the bottom of a 65 feet deep shaft when the cutting head removed the final pieces of earth and rock along the route.

On the final drive of about 280 metres, Tanya removed about 5000 tonnes of rock and on the entire route an estimated 25,000 tonnes.

Work will now start on dismantling Tanya and covering the shafts at the breakthrough point adjacent to Canal Street railway station and Saucelhill Park and at another shaft in South Campbell Street.

The Gazette:

The new infrastructure, which is the biggest investment of its kind Scottish Water has ever made in Renfrewshire, will substantially reduce the frequency of spills from the sewer network into the Espedair Burn and White Cart Water in storm conditions.

Brian Boland, project manager, said: “This is a great achievement for the team as it is obviously a key moment in the project and follows two and a half years of complex and painstaking work.

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“We have experienced significant engineering challenges during the tunnelling and this has meant the work took longer than we had originally anticipated. But we have overcome those challenges and I’m delighted that we have now completed the tunnelling.

“We are particularly thankful to the people of the area for their patience and understanding while this work has been progressing."

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