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Congress, clients and codes
If you are one of the 1,000 or so delegates at the World Tunnel Congress; benvenuto a Napoli. This year it is Europe’s turn to host WTC, with Naples being selected at the 2016 congress in San Francisco as the industry’s chosen gathering point.
Update from Forrestfield
There is some late-breaking news as Tunnels and Tunnelling International goes to press. On 19 February the Forrestfield-Airport Link’s client announced that its two stopped TBMs should resume tunnelling in mid- and late-March respectively, good news for a project that was previously held up by a sinkhole last September.
Don’t read this over lunch
For Washington, D.C., 2018 was the wettest year on record. National Airport reported 66.28 inches of rain, which outpaced the prior record of 61.33 inches (1,558mm) from 1889 and was more than 26 inches above the normal rainfall amount in a year (39.74 inches). In addition, five months of the year (May, July, September, November and December) ranked among the top 10 wettest months on record.
Hard to miss
In this issue of Tunnels and Tunnelling International we have devoted the majority of the magazine to a paper by Dr Barry New of the Geotechnical Consulting Group (GCG). In it, New explores tunnelling impact assessments with a view to protecting existing underground assets. The work has been guided by investigations into failures and studies of the geoenvironment of cities and examines present approaches to the issue, while also making suggestions of how the industry might progress in future.
I recently hosted a breakout session at a conference on ‘disruptive technologies’. These technologies were: the Internet of Things, Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence. It was interesting, and will be covered in a subsequent issue. But for tunnelling I can think of one historical change that was far more significant, which has recently been recognised with an award.
Goodwill to some, not all
In what is possibly a nod to the season of good cheer, Ipsos Mori has published its annual veracity index. This poll by the market research company has the accolade of being the longest-running poll on trust in professions, having been taken consistently since 1983. The poll is simple; it asks respondents to say whether they trust different types of people to generally tell the truth.
Every few months I have a meeting with the magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board, in which I ask their advice, plan future issues and weather some constructive criticism (this editorial will be reviewed at about 11.30am on 18 January 2019 – not that I am feeling self-conscious).
Half a Degree
As T&T went to press the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, announced that limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C would provide clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, and goes hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society.
Science of the small
It has been a while since I wrote about tunnelling efforts to further humanity’s understanding of particle physics.
Welsh fairy tale
Fairy tales: we all remember our favourites. Steve Mackey, chair of the Rhondda Tunnel Society may well be living his own.
Tap in to the public mood
Growing up in southern Italy, I spent most of my days during the hot summers in an olive tree in my garden. This hundred-year-old tree kept all of my secrets and protected the little girl who wanted to explore new cities all over the world. I still love my home, Nardò, situated in Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot) but as an adult I left my olive tree to work in London.
The dirty “p” word
Cities aren’t built by engineers, they are built by those who step up and lead,” according to Sevaun Palvetzian CEO of Civic Action, a Toronto based non-profi t coalition to address the region’s social and economic future. Her sentiment, while true, is aimed at building inclusive leadership at the civic level, an effort that is laudable. However, it’s also a message the industry should take personally. More people from the engineering and construction fi elds, as well as science, medicine and other professional realms, need to be involved in politics at all levels from the local school board to the federal government.
An Austrian Method
A joint venture led by Porr has been awarded a major contract on the largest tunnelling project in Austrian history, the Brenner Base Tunnel. The design-build consortium, which includes Porr, Hinteregger & Söhne Baugesellschaft, Società Italiana per Condotte d’Acqua, and Itinera will construct Lot BBT H51 Pfons-Brenner for around EUR 966M (USD 1.2bn).
Look back to look forward
January marked 200 years since Marc Brunel patented the first tunnelling shield. The cover of this issue shows just how far the industry has come since he tunnelled under London’s river Thames, and further in the features illustrate the strides the industry has made over the last decades.
World tunnel congress
The international tunnelling industry will gather in Dubai towards the end of April for the 44th ITA General Assembly and World Tunnel Congress. This should be an interesting one.
Whenever I hear about whatever the ITA Committee for Underground Space (ITACUS) is up to, I think about that Joni Mitchell song, Big Yellow Taxi. In it, she sings about a future world where humanity has “paved over paradise and put up a parking lot”.
At a presentation to a council meeting in the final week of January, Elon Musk’s tunnelling company presented plans to tunnel under western Los Angeles.
Advance through apathy
The Zojila Pass Tunnel may go ahead, finally, as it received government approval this month. The project is to build an all-weather road route to Jammu and Kashmir, featuring a 14km-long tunnel.