NI Water continues £5m project to safeguard century-old Belfast sewers

Posted By:
NI Water

21st Mar 2022

NI Water is to commence the second and final phase of a £5m investment to refurbish century-old wastewater infrastructure at Lanyon Quay in Belfast city centre.

This latest phase of work – which will get underway at the end of March – will see the relining of the Queen’s Bridge Siphons (sewers), which run under the River Lagan between Lanyon Quay and Greggs Quay.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “These essential works will deliver upgraded sewerage infrastructure for people living and working in the Belfast area.

“Having the right infrastructure in place is key to improving people’s lives. Continued investment in water and wastewater services throughout the north is essential in protecting public health and growing our economy.”

The two 1.15m diameter siphons have been in operation since the early 1900s and transfer wastewater from a large section of east Belfast to Lanyon Quay, from where it is conveyed to Belfast Wastewater Treatment Works in Duncrue.

Giving the background to the work, NI Water Senior Project Manager, Robert McLean said: “The Queen’s Bridge Siphons and the associated chambers in the area were in need of extensive repair to safeguard their future operation. As part of phase one works, NI Water refurbished chambers at Greggs Quay and Oxford Street and constructed a 9m deep chamber at Lanyon Quay to facilitate future maintenance work, including the removal of blockages within the siphons to prevent flooding. The relining of the siphons will augment the refurbishment work done to date and provide this area of Belfast with a more robust wastewater network.

The relining process will be carried out from the new chamber at Lanyon Quay using specialist trenchless techniques. Work is estimated to be complete around the end of July and will be carried out by Murphy Dawson-WAM JV, with project management provided by Atkins.

Robert continued: “Ahead of construction work getting underway and to facilitate the safe movement of machinery, hoarding will be erected around the chamber on Lanyon Quay week commencing 21st March.

“Unfortunately, this temporary hoarding will affect a short section of the National Route 9 Cycle Network. Cyclists will be able to pass the site compound adjacent to Oxford Street, however, we would ask that they dismount and walk across the wooden boardwalk if going through Lanyon Place. Alternatively, cyclists may use the route via Queen Elizabeth Bridge, Greggs Quay (which will remain open during the works) and the Lagan Viaduct.

“Sustrans has been notified of the work and the affected section of cycle route. Pedestrian access for residents and businesses will be maintained throughout these works and signage will be in place to direct cyclists.

“NI Water and our contractor Murphy Dawson-WAM JV would like to thank local businesses, residents and the wider public for their patience and cooperation as we prepare to undertake the next phase of these essential works to safeguard the local wastewater infrastructure. Once complete, this £5m project will reduce the risk of flooding in the area and help protect the water quality in the adjacent stretch of the River Lagan.”

The investment at Queen’s Bridge Siphons is an excellent example of what can be done when the necessary funding is in place.

NI Water’s capital funding for year 1 of our business plan was secured and the business looks forward to the necessary funding being put in place across the full six-year period to 2027.