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Safety gloves may be needed as Crossrail switches to manual muck process

Crossrail staff may be needing safety gloves as they use a manual muck away system to clear spoil away from sites where tunnelling has been taking place.

Speaking to New Civil Engineer, Crossrail programme director Andy Mitchell said the recent collapse of a conveyor and hopper system near Paddington last month has prompted the switch to manual shovelling.

"It is a medium-term solution but in reality, once we have a robust solution there is a real question over whether we would want to return to the original conveyor system," he admitted.

Mr Mitchell added that a new rail system will be installed to ferry away soil from the tunnelling work without adding large numbers of new lorries to London's roads.

The build-up of soil has led to a three-week delay in tunnelling work, but the director said he expects the work to be back on schedule by March.

Clean earth dug up by the tunnelling is to be used to help create a new wetland wildlife reserve at Wallasea Island in the Thames Estuary, with landscaping to create higher and lower ground and varied habitat.

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