Major sewer upgrade in Stratford to bring traffic restrictions

Inside the Northern Outfall Sewer at Wick Lane

Inside the Northern Outfall Sewer at Wick Lane, near where the repair works under Stratford High Road will be carried out. - Credit: Thames Water

Work to upgrade a 160-year-old sewer under Stratford High Street is beginning next week, with traffic restrictions to be put in place.

Thames Water engineers will be working inside the giant northern outfall sewer where it passes under High Street along the line of Greenway.

A temporary 7.5-tonne weight restriction and 20mph speed limit along part of the road comes into effect on Tuesday, August 10.

The location of the northern outfall sewer as it passes under Stratford High Street.

The location of the northern outfall sewer as it passes under Stratford High Street. - Credit: Thames Water

The restrictions will be enforced by traffic cameras and be in place for up to 30 months while Thames Water carries out the work.

Thames Water project manager Richard Smith said: “The northern outfall sewer is just one of the many thousands of miles of sewers built by the Victorians across London.

“Their engineering is truly incredible, but climate change and population growth are putting huge pressures on this ageing network."

As it crosses High Street, the sewer comprises eight huge pipes, each around 1.6 metres high and 2.4 metres wide.

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Wastewater flows through at a rate of up to 20,000 litres per second.

Mr Smith said: “The northern outfall sewer supplies Europe’s largest sewage works at Beckton, which treats the waste of more than four million Londoners, so we need to make sure the pipes continue providing this vital service for at least another 160 years.

“The majority of motorists will still be able to drive along High Street, but we apologise in advance for any disruption and inconvenience our work may cause.”

All vehicles under 7.5t, including ambulances, cars and vans, will be able to travel along High Street.

Map of diversion in Stratford

A map of the diversion that will be in place for vehicles heavier than 7.5t entering High Street in Stratford. - Credit: Thames Water / Google Maps

Fire engines and Transport for London (TfL) buses have been granted special exemption and can also use the road.

As drivers of vehicles heavier than 7.5t approach, road signs and electronic message boards will give them advanced warning of the weight limit and direct them to follow the clearly-signed diversion.

A temporary 7ft width restriction at the start of the eastbound Bow Flyover will prevent vehicles heavier than 7.5t from entering High Street, funnelling them instead onto Bow roundabout and the diversion along the A12.

Thames Water says it is working closely with Newham Council and TfL to minimise the impact of the work.

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