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Latest Tunnels and Tunnelling Blog Update

History Lessons
29 August, 2017
Historians contend their subject matter’s utility helps us understand ourselves and the societies in which we live. To borrow an idea from civil engineering—we must understand the foundation before we build upon it. Looking beyond the literal interpretations, in the tunnelling industry without history one cannot appreciate the (comparative) ease, comfort and safety of today’s work environment and modern equipment.
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Magic Numbers
Monday, July 17, 2017 It is a completely arbitrary number, pleasing only because it plays into a base 10 counting system, but compound growth of 7% results in a doubling time of 10 years. That’s what the growth of the tunnelling industry currently stands at according to the International Tunnelling Association (ITA), 7% per year which is expected to continue for the near future. Or at least the next five to 10 years.
All the way up, all the way down
Friday, May 05, 2017 More rumblings from California as a SpaceX employee has posted a photo of Elon Musk’s newly acquired TBM to Instagram – before swiftly removing it. Before moving on, a quick glossary: SpaceX is the packleader of several companies that are vying to commercialise and reduce the cost of space travel; Elon Musk is its eccentric South African billionaire owner and Instagram is a social media platform for photographs that boasts 700 million users.
Approaching the age gap
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 Two-thirds of job openings for engineers in Canada are related to retirement replacement, according to a report released by the association Engineers Canada.
Confidence in conferences
Monday, April 17, 2017 Parallel technical sessions seem to irritate conference goers, with particularly awkward setups being remembered and discussed for years after the event.
Stonehenge sold short?
Monday, January 09, 2017 The Stonehenge Tunnel has reared its head once again. New plans have been green-lit by the government and it appears the shorter tunnel option, a 2.9km bore, is the favourite.
Dust to dust
Monday, October 31, 2016 No matter, the type of infrastructure, going underground is preferable in most cases, but really the choice is made due to limited or costly surface space. The choice to go underground is a necessity to meet the demands of a growing population.
For example
Friday, October 28, 2016 sales volume in the US, overall, was down 0.2 per cent in 2015. However, the sales volume for craft beer was up 12.8 per cent in the same period. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone—prolific growth across the US for microbreweries, brew pubs, tap rooms and even home brewing has been a hallmark of the last decade.
Easy come easy go
Monday, March 14, 2016 Relief was probably the general reaction when Seattle Tunnel Partners had been given permission to resume tunnelling by the Washington State Department of Transport.
Woodhead Pass Tunnel
Monday, December 28, 2015 The UK is contemplating the pros and cons of constructing the world’s longest road tunnel. Not yet named, it would be an improvement of the A628 connection between Sheffield and Manchester, located in the Peak District, a hilly National Park in the North of England.
Another hurdle
Thursday, October 29, 2015 In a trip to China, the UK’s chancellor George Osborne has been trying to spark interest in High Speed Two (HS2) investment opportunities. Some GBP 24bn (USD 36.5bn) was laid out for the consideration of potential spenders at an event in Chengdu, the capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan province. Osborne tweeted from the event: “Today we open bidding process for HS2 construction with contracts worth 11.8bn. A milestone in a project key to Britain's future.”
Christie's gamble
Thursday, October 29, 2015 Protecting his state from potential cost overruns, newly-elected New Jersey governor Chris Christie proudly brought the Access to the Region's Core (ARC) tunnel project to a halt in 2010. The USD 8.7bn rail project under the Hudson River would have connected New Jersey to New York through two, single-track 2.26km-long tunnels.
Optimism Abounds
Thursday, August 13, 2015 At the rapid excavation and Tunnelling Conference (RETC) in New Orleans this June, there was a discernable attitude shift of the industry from 2014 to 2015. At the North America Tunneling (NAT) event in Los Angeles—where a news crew local to Seattle roamed the exhibit hall, looking for answers about the stalled TBM on the Alaskan Way viaduct project—the tone of most conversations expressed hesitation, concern and frustration.
Give a voice to future tech
Thursday, June 25, 2015 In a previous comment I wrote about ITA president Soren Eskesen's progress with bringing tunnelling to the attention of the UN bodies studying ways to mitigate the effects of flooding and other natural disasters caused by climate change. He has had some success in this, but talking about innovations and actually putting them in place are sometimes a world apart.
Closing the gender gap
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 Last December, the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering hosted a very well-attended family fair showcasing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Children as young as two years old built bridges out of marshmallows and toothpicks, as part of the civil engineering exhibit, and wide range of other activities designed by student across the various departments captivated the attention of of children of all ages.
Acknowledging awards
Friday, April 24, 2015 Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year to simply promote movies and television shows for events like the Academy Awards and the Emmys. While superficially glamorous, the prestige is lacking with each passing year, with deeper pockets and a growing number of award shows for the entertainment industry.
High tide
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 It’s an exciting time for the International Tunnelling Association (ITA) leadership. With growing international acceptance that climate change is affecting the world, there are two outcomes. Firstly, governments try to change the habits of the planet to slow the pace of a changing biosphere. This is a boost to the demand for tunnelling on the larger scale; governments looking for low-carbon per capita means of transportation, for example. Metro networks rather than private car ownership.
What is sustainable infrastructure?
Tuesday, February 03, 2015 It's not underground, one would conclude from a report asking, what does the future of sustainable infrastructure look like? Making use of underground space is not once mentioned.
China Decider
Thursday, January 29, 2015 In December Australia’s multi-industry contracting giant Leighton Holdings announced the impending sale of John Holland to the fourth largest construction company in the world. The buyer, state-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) stressed that it would be “business as usual” for John Holland customers, that it perceived growth opportunities in Australia. Normal commentary during a takeover.
Young members matter
Friday, October 31, 2014 In the last 15 months there has been a flourish of countries establishing Young Member Groups in tunnelling organisations, and that includes both Canada and the US. In May the ITA General Assembly in Brazil approved the creation of an ITA Young Members Group. Its mission is to “bridge the generation gap and provide a technical network platform for young professionals in the tunnelling and underground space industry."
Next Generation
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 Recently, various reports have been released that confirm the ever-widening gap between the Millennial generation and the preceding Baby Boomers.

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