Blackwall Tunnel, Northbound Refurbishment

The Blackwall Tunnel is a critical link between the North and South sides of the River Thames. When the Northbound carriageway needed refurbishment to meet current safety standards, VVB was contracted to install new Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) systems, whilst keeping the tunnel fully operational.


Fire, Mechanical and electrical, Telecoms and Temporary Works

Project Value

£20 - 30 million


Tunnels and Highways

Opened in 1897, the single two lane bore of Blackwall Tunnel’s Northbound carriageway is 1,364 metres in length, and receives more than 50,000 vehicles a day.

The tunnel and all four associated ventilation shafts were upgraded, with  VVB providing a full Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) installation package to BAM Nuttall. The package included all Enabling, Temporary and Permanent M&E Works.

VVB’s role consisted of removing existing M&E infrastructure, installing new M&E systems, and fitting fire detection systems, as part of the effort to bring the tunnel infrastructure up to modern safety standards.

VVB were also tasked with producing detailed design, interfacing with the civil works, being responsible for electrical safety on the project, providing Senior Authorised, Authorised and Competent Persons, managing specialist suppliers and subcontractors, maintaining new M&E systems and liaising with third parties such as local authorities and emergency services.

Both the installation of the new and removal of the old M&E systems were completed whilst keeping the tunnel fully operational.

VVB project managed the M&E works, whilst maintaining site responsibility for electrical safety, mechanical, electrical, fire and telecommunications engineering, decommissioning old and commissioning new systems.

Scope of Works:

  • Ventilation system
  • Tunnel lighting
  • HV / LV power supply and distribution system
  • Tunnel evacuation signs
  • Crane and hoist systems
  • Lifts
  • Ancillary systems
  • Tunnel pumped drainage
  • Communications backbone network system
  • SCADA systems
  • PA loudspeaker system
  • Radio and mobile phone systems
  • CCTV system
  • Telephone system
  • Traffic management system

The project completed nine months ahead of programme due to our collaboration with stakeholders, client and designers.

Experience and expertise under our belt

We deliver mechanical, electrical, telecommunication, temporaries and fire engineering services for large-scale infrastructure projects, powered entirely by our own people, skills and industry know-how.

View all projects
£350m Over £350m total project value delivered
500 Over 500 years' experience among our PAYE employees
20 Over 20 live projects UK-wide
15 Over 15 accreditations
£350m Over £350m total project value delivered
500 Over 500 years' experience among our PAYE employees
20 Over 20 live projects UK-wide
15 Over 15 accreditations

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