The tunnelling machine set to begin beneath the Commons Car Park

Work has started on the first of two tunnels in Market Harborough as part of a £1.5 million project to reduce the risk of surface water flooding in Coventry Road.

The Anglian Water scheme began in November and has already seen a six metre deep ‘drill pit’ dug in the Commons Car Park to allow this next phase to take place.

Yesterday a manned tunnelling machine was lowered into the drill pit and began its 100 metre journey through the car park, under the town square and to the junction of Coventry Road. This tunnel will make space for a brand new surface water sewer pipe, which will be laid behind the tunnelling machine as it travels.

Antony Innes, from Anglian Water, said: “Work is progressing well and on course to be completed in the spring as planned, despite the short delay initially starting work.

“It’s strange to think that over the next few weeks people in town will be carrying on with their daily lives, while six metres below their feet one of our engineers will be driving a tunnelling machine as the new surface water sewer pipe is built behind it.

“People won’t be able to hear or feel anything, but the machine will be making its way from the car park to the junction of Coventry Road where a ‘reception pit’ will be constructed early in the New Year. This will allow us to connect the new sewer to the rest of the system.”

In January, work will begin in Coventry Road itself as a further 100 metres of new surface water sewer will be constructed to join up with the latest stage of work. Unfortunately, this part of the project will mean Coventry Road is closed for several weeks.

Antony added: “We know work of this nature will be disruptive, which is why we’ve worked with Harborough District Council, the Highways authority and business representatives in the town to meticulously plan the work and minimise disruption.

“Hopefully, residents and businesses will understand the importance of the scheme, and that the long term benefits will far outweigh the disruption.”