17-tonne West Ella Worm to start drilling to help protect 4,000 homes from flooding

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 18 Jul 2018

It could have ended up being called Drilly McDrillface.

But instead a huge tunnelling machine set to start work on the next phase of a £22m flood alleviation scheme near Anlaby is now known as West Ella Worm.

The name was ten-year-old Ella Jade Whincup's winning entry in a competition among pupils at Springhead Primary School in Anlaby.

Pupils from Springhead Primary School who came up with names for the tunnelling machine, now known as West Ella Mole

Along with some of her fellow pupils, she was on hand to officially name the the 17-tonne machine today before it disappears underground to dig out a 1.2km-long tunnel beneath a hill either side of West Ella and Tranby valleys.

When completed, it will carry excess flood water during periods of heavy rain as part of a wider scheme designed to reduce the risk of flooding to around 4,000 homes and more than 70 businesses in the Anlaby, East Ella and Hessle areas which were badly affected during the devastating 2007 floods.

Teacher Alison Dutton said: "It's been a great project for the school to be involved in.

READ MORE: Fears building 60 new homes in west Hull could trigger devastating floods like 2007

"The design team came to talk to the children about the scheme and showed them pictures of the flooding in Anlaby from 2007. They also explained how the tunneling machine worked.

"We then incorporated that into lessons, talking about things which live underground and the different names of places in the area."

East Riding Council project manager Andy Cooper said: "It was lovely working with the children. They really got into what is a very complex piece of engineering."


East Riding Council project manager Andy Cooper

As well as the tunnel, the scheme also includes open watercourses, a new culvert underneath Beverley Road in Anlaby, improvements to the existing Western Drain and a new flood water storage lagoon on the site of the former Sydney Smith School in First Lane.

When completed in 2020, the lagoon will be capable of holding back up to 130,000 cubic metres of water in the event of a flood – the same amount it would take to fill 52 Olympic-sized swimming pools.


The 12-metre deep shaft where the tunnelling machine will soon be lowered into to start work

Mr Cooper said he did not anticipate any noise or vibration issues for nearby residents during the tunnelling work.

"The nearest homes will be around 50 metres away but tunnelling work will be 11 to 12 metres below ground for most of the time, although the deepest section will be 24 metres," he said.



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