A NEW recruit is set to join United Utilities engineers working on a major sewer improvement scheme in Trafford Park.

Weighing in at 140 tonnes, Gloria is a big girl – and she’s a grafter – she can dig 1,285 wheelbarrows full of dirt every shift.

Gloria is in fact a huge tunnel-boring machine and next month she is moving to Manchester from her depot in Stoke, where she has been refurbished following her last job building a sewer in Hull.

With a ‘mouth’ more than four metres wide and 80 ‘teeth’ she will make light work of a 700-metre long tunnel through the heart of Trafford Park.

David Baines, United Utilities senior project manager, said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming Gloria to the team. Everything we have done on site so far has been in preparation for her arrival.

“This part of Trafford was at the heart of Manchester’s industrial development. We’re working on the site of the old Westinghouse factory and later the Vickers factory where the Lancaster bomber was assembled during the war.

“Two of Manchester’s arterial Victorian sewers run through the site on the way to Davyhulme wastewater treatment works.

“Our project will bring these sewers up to modern standards with enough capacity to meet the demands of the growing city. It’s good news for the area and the fish and wildlife in the ship canal.”

Since August 2013, the site team have been working at three sites in Fraser Place and Europa Way digging shafts and chambers up to 33 metres deep – big enough to swallow an 11-storey block of flats.

The shafts will all be connected by the tunnel, which will be wide enough to drive a high roof van through.

The whole system will work together to store 17,800 cubic metres of dirty water during storm conditions – enough to fill more than seven Olympic-sized swimming pools. This water, which would previously overflow into the Manchester Ship Canal, will then be taken away for treatment after the storm.

The Trafford Park sewer scheme is one of six similar projects worth more than £90 million being carried out by United Utilities along the Salford and Eccles corridor, with the aim of improving water quality in the Manchester Ship Canal. The investment works out at around £900 per household in Salford.