A tandem lifting operation of the tunnel eye for the launch chamber of the Silvertown Tunnel took four hours to complete. The tunnel eye will guide the TBM as it makes the first cut on the start of its journey beneath the River Thames, towards Greenwich.

The tandem lift was undertaken using a 100-tonne mobile crane, which picked up the bottom of the tunnel eye, and a top crane weighing 250 tonnes that lifted the top. The cranes operated together to lift and rotate the component.

The tunnel eye has now been secured with steel ties and concreted into position. After tunnelling to Greenwich, the TBM will be turned around in the rotation chamber for its journey back to Silvertown.

The 1.4km twin-bore Silvertown Tunnel will provide a new road connection beneath the River Thames, from Greenwich Peninsula to the north side of the river at Silvertown Way.

Riverlinx, a joint venture of BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction and SK Ecoplant, is the design and build contractor for the US$1.42bn project.

The first TBM parts arrived in the UK last year, in preparation for tunnelling to start this summer. The 11.91m diameter Herrenknecht machine is the largest TBM to work in the UK to date.