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Social media success for National Tunnelling Day
18 December, 2015
GREAT BRITAIN – The first UK National Tunnelling Day was held on 3 December 2015. Launched by the British Tunnelling Society Young Members, the “aim was to engage people from all walks of life about the cool and interesting tunnelling projects that are in the UK” according to former BTSYM chair Eoin O’Murchu.

Ground freezing expert honoured by university
17 December, 2015
USA – Joseph Sopko will be recognised as a Distinguished Alumnus by Michigan State University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Sopko, who is director of ground freezing for Moretrench, attended the university’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and received a Bachelor of Science (1980), a Master of Science (1983) and a Ph.D. (1990) in Civil Engineering. He has since devoted his career to specialising in ground freezing technology.

Strabag set to complete Züblin takeover
11 December, 2015
AUSTRIA – Contractor Strabag has announced that it expects to agree terms for a complete takeover of Züblin. Currently the majority shareholder, it announced that an informal agreement has already been reached covering the core requirements of the deal. Although all parties have agreed not to disclose the specifics at this time.

Underground space group formed in the UK
11 December, 2015
GREAT BRITAIN – A new group for the intelligent use of underground space has been formed in London. Billing itself as the ‘Multi-disciplinary Activity Group for the Use of Underground Space’ (Mag2us), it has held two meetings since its formation in September.

Stonehenge Tunnel enjoys heritage support
11 December, 2015
GREAT BRITAIN – A film has been released promoting the benefits of a tunnel to bury the A303 road; the route that passes Stonehenge, Britain’s most famous Neolithic monument. According to local newspaper the Salisbury Journal, Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage produced the film.

Acciona-led JV named preferred proponent for Site C civil works
03 December, 2015
CANADA – BC Hydro has selected Peace River Hydro Partners as the preferred proponent for the Site C main civil works contract, it announced November 25. Peace River Hydro Partners include Acciona Infrastructure Canada Inc., Petrowest Corporation and Samsung C&T Canada Ltd.

International Tunnelling Association Awards
02 December, 2015
INTERNATIONAL - The ITA awarded its inaugural Tunnelling Awards on November 19, in Hagerbach Switzerland.

Testing starts on Big Bertha
01 December, 2015
USA – Commissioning of the SR 99 TBM continues as Seattle Tunnel Partners prepares to resume mining. STP began testing machine components earlier this month as crews continued welding pieces and reconnecting hoses and cables.

Roadheader breaks through on Confederation Line
01 December, 2015
CANADA – One of the roadheaders mining the Downtown Tunnel on Ottawa’s Confederation Line completed final bench excavation in Lyon Station, it was announced on 25 November.

Tunnelling completed on Evergreen Line
01 December, 2015
CANADA – Officials announced that tunnelling has completed on the Evergreen line in Vancouver on 27 November, although previous delays will push back the opening to 2017.

Mouchel appoints new director
27 November, 2015
GREAT BRITAIN – Mouchel has appointed Richard Crossley as its senior technical director for transport planning. Crossley joins from WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff where he led transportation planning services in the Middle East. Crossley brings with him over 40 years of experience within the transportation consultancy sector, including six years with the Department of Transport.

Islamic State tunnel network discovered
27 November, 2015
IRAQ – The recently liberated city of Sinjar in northern Iraq has yielded a network of tunnels. Reportedly built by Islamic State militants, the longest of the 30 or 40 tunnels in the network run for “several hundreds of metres”. The tunnels were outfitted with sleeping quarters, electricity, sandbags, medicine and copies of the Koran. Tools for bomb making were also discovered.

NFM and Mu¨hlha¨user to collaborate
26 November, 2015
FRANCE/SWITZERLAND – Manufacturers NFM and Mühlhäuser have signed an agreement to allow Mühlhäuser to work with European and selected international customers of the pair.

Harding Prize 2016 submissions invited
20 November, 2015
GREAT BRITAIN - 2016 Harding Prize. Entries are now being accepted, with entry open to those aged 33 or younger on 1st January 2016. The entry is to consist of an original paper relating to any aspect of tunnelling which the entrant considers to be of interest to others in the tunnelling industry, with this submitted to the BTS Secretary by 31st January 2016.

Hatch Mott MacDonald to split up
20 November, 2015
NORTH AMERICA - Hatch and Mott MacDonald have announced that the Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM) joint venture will be separated into two distinct businesses. HMM’s Canada business will become part of Hatch while HMM’s US business will become part of Mott MacDonald. HMM’s Pipelines business, which operates in both Canada and the US, will also join Mott MacDonald.

Wojtasik succeeds O’Murchu as BTSYM chair
16 November, 2015
GREAT BRITAIN – Mateusz Wojtasik has succeeded Eoin O’Murchu as chair of the British Tunnelling Society Young Members (BTSYM). The handover took place at the group’s AGM on 10 November at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London.

Akron breaks ground on OCIT project
12 November, 2015
USA – The City of Akron began work on the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel (OCIT) – the largest component of the city’s court-ordered Long Term Control Plan - with a groundbreaking ceremony on 6 November on the banks of the Little Cuyahoga River.

ITAYM leadership reflects on 2015
12 November, 2015
INTERNATIONAL – The past year has been successful, but not flawless start for the fledgling International Tunnelling Association Young Members (ITAYM). According to a spokesman, one challenge that surprised the group has been the continuing delay in some of the larger countries forming Young Member groups. Italy, Germany and Spain stand out among these as they have a long history and culture of tunnelling.

Walsh’s Archer Western leads Atlanta upgrade contract
12 November, 2015
USA -The Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority (MARTA) recently signed a USD 198.5M contract to overhaul and upgrade its tunnel ventilation system (TVS), it announced on November 10.

Seattle sees more milestones on LRT project
10 November, 2015
USA - One of the TBMs bored through the wall of Sound Transit’s future U District light rail station on Friday, November 6, completing the third segment of the twin 3.5-mile (5.6km) tunnels that will serve light rail trains from Northgate Mall to the University of Washington starting in 2021.