Report - - Underground Bradford & Flood Alleviation - May 2010 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Underground Bradford & Flood Alleviation - May 2010


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City Of Bradford Underground & Flood Alleviation - May 2010

City Of Bradford Flood Alleviation - Visited by Ojay & Thompski.

The City of Bradford in West Yorkshire is more renowned as the 'Curry Capital' of the UK, and more widely known as the Drain0r Capital of the North.

For those not familiar with Bradford's subterranean world, the city has a confusing system of culverts, sewer overflows and flood relief systems which all interlink. At the heart of this is the Bradford Beck AKA Macro, a flooding prone river which curves underground through the city and occasionally showing it's face above.

Quoting Phill D "Macro is a fearsome challenge and real twisting supercharger of a drain. It is the drain that all others are measured by".

I will take his word for this, however having spent 8 hours underground I can begin to see some truth in his statement, although I am led to believe there are bigger systems down Sowth?

Over the last Century the City of Bradford has suffered some serious flooding, specifically in the 1940's, 1960's and lastly in the 70's.

In late 1989, Bradford City's Department of Civil Engineering set out on a massive project of flood alleviation for the City in partnership with Johnston Construction . Typically With any ambitious Council plans and Nuff Government funding (Yeah right) it was finally completed in the early 90's.

Infact in 1994 it gained the accolade of "Institute of Civil Engineering Yorkshire Association Award" for excellence in the concept, design and execution of Civil Engineering Works.

After seeing some quality reports over the last year I decided it was time to go and see what all the fuss was about... It's one Hooj system and after 8 hours of mooching up/down in and out of side pipes, processor rooms, overflows, culverts sewers, shafts and chambers we had only seen about two thirds of it!!

This place is immense and offers a fine selection of Brick, Concrete and Stonework to die for.

The entire system is split into the following 5 sections:

Macro - The Bradford Beck running underneath the City in a giant U shape. There is a hell of a lot of interesting features in here and is rocky as fook.

The Academy - This is the Bowling Beck, now used as a sewer overflow, and along the way the 'Cathedral Chamber' which again sadly we didn't get to see as we had run out of time.

Bypass- This is the main storm relief for the City of Bradford. Constructed of 12ft RCP with massive inspection chambers and approx 1300 yards long cutting through two thirds of Macro, connecting both the upstream and downstream sections.

Pandora's Box - This is West Brook, including another section of storm relief and a CSO (aptly named 'Pandora's Arsehole').

Bombay Mix - This is East Brook. including another CSO. Apparently gases are bad in here, and another section we have yet to explore.

The Journey...........

By chance, I had a bit of free time recently and ultimately made it a personal if rather vague mission to “go underground, somewhere up Northâ€. Ojay suggested a trip over to Bradford one Friday afternoon.

“Sounds good to meâ€

Before long we were heading towards Bradford, armed to the teeth with an arsenal of lighting equipment and a wad of snacks. This was going to be a big trip, packed with as much comedy as we had lighting we managed to get the following photo's on the way, ENJOY.

Entering the Outfall of Macro. Our way in


this culverted section of the Bradford Beck soon passes underneath the City through here



before reaching here


Carrying up-stream, essential skillZ were required to get up this slippy ramp


to get here



To the right is a giant CSO complete with processor to filter out the poop, the smell in here was far worse than anything I have experienced to-date


Inside you are greeted with this Vortex,


which winds round to the Processor on the left


Carrying on up the long concrete section as it twists under the city



we arrived here (Even further Up-stream of Macro)


Looking back up


At this point we stopped for said snacks; with Thompski providing the drain meal. After around 10 minutes we decided to head back down stream for more action.

Arriving here, we now realised that after 2 hours we had not even seen half of this place, so instead of calling it a day we carried on into the unknown


Continuing down stream we ended up being confronted by this giant slide


Ahead was this section of RCP


It wasn't long before we came across this chamber, which had the following split


The RCP to the LEFT took us to 'Pandoras Box'



Looking down


Carrying on upto this culverted section of West Brook


which brought us here


This was right inside the University campus, and I shit you not 2 seccas walked right by as we were taking photos, oblivious to us down below

The RCP to the RIGHT took us to 'Pandoras Arsehole'. A giant CSO and sewer interceptor which as home to the main trunk of Bradford. This place was built on 3 tiers, it was huge and split into the three sub sections with the sewerfrash flowing below. This place doubled up as the largest processor I have ever seen, with electronically controlled shit filters housed above, including 'Sewer Cam' thats right this place even has it's own Tv Channel monitoring the turd stream!




Continuing on from the slide we now reached the start of 'Bypass'. After passing through this large chamber


We had an approx walk of around 1300 yards of 12ft RCP


before we came to what I can only describe as the largest chamber I have ever seen, it was around 80ft high with vehicles thundering above


before finally reaching the outfall here


This marked the end of our journey for the time being, there just isn't enough hours in the day to cover this place, hence a return visit is imminent.

Thanks for looking
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Do. Find. Drains.
28DL Full Member
That's a cracking effort! I don't think anybody has managed to do everything in one go, that'd be a challenge.

Because I'm a geek :p