Elan Valley Aqueduct


The 73-mile-long Elan Valley Aqueduct crosses Wales and the English Midlands carrying drinking water to Birmingham, the second largest city in the UK. Originally opened in 1906, a project is currently underway to replace dilapidated sections. Over the next five years Severn Trent Water will spend £255m improving Birmingham’s water supplies from Wales. ByrneLooby prepared a design to facilitate the excavation of a TBM launch shaft immediately adjacent to the aqueduct.

The project was challenging as it required a deep excavation around the 110-year-old aqueduct. To ensure the existing structure remained unaffected by the excavation, strict movement limits were imposed. A further constraint was that the historic structure needed to remain live for the duration of the project. A combination of board piling and sheet piling were employed as the optimum solution for this project.

ByrneLooby provided an alternative design solution to facilitate the launch of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) through the secant wall, replacing the need for GFRP or extensive propping with an un-reinforced concrete arch constructed using piling techniques. This allowed for faster and more cost effective construction techniques.


Keith, Project Geotechnical Engineer

“Elan Valley was an enjoyable and challenging project, as the nuanced details of the project brief required bespoke innovative design solutions. Tasked with designing multiple structural elements with complex soil-structure interactions really tested and expanded my technical knowledge. I enjoyed working across a multi-disciplinary team to deliver a very complex solution that was feasible to construct in an efficient and cost effective manner. I look forward to utilising what I have learned on future projects.”


Project Photos