Blogs ArchiveArchive of blogs from the global tunnels industry
Blogs By Date
Left foot forward
After a tumultuous and tiring few years for the British electorate, a towering majority for the Conservative Party makes it very likely that Britain will leave the European Union in short order.
It is nice to look back 20 years at the Y2K panic and laugh. Entering adulthood for many of a certain generation, particularly in the US, has been marked by momentous and somber events. Specifically 9/11 and the Lehman Brothers crash, which we couldn’t control but yet that shaped the way we established our careers and lives.
Choice of method
One of the important things to remember about science is that it is always refining. While a field advances, improved data collection and the interpretation of studies brings the model we base our understanding on closer to reality.
In this issue we have a fire protection angle. You will find several articles covering an incident in Gdansk, variable frequency drives, the impact of fire events on tunnel linings and a piece on the latest health and safety thinking in this area.
Experience what’s out there
A tunnel is roughly defined, when a definition can be narrowed down at all. A drive time radio host sharing the traffic report will refer to a surface-level enclosed road as a tunnel, or a pedestrian walkway in a culvert, or even an eight lane overpass. When I started working with Tunnels & Tunnelling the general guidelines for covering a project were, at least a kilometer long, and at least eight feet in diameter. The specific numbers aren’t as important, though, as what they signify—the need to excavate without disrupting the surface.
A 40-year strategy
There are many in this industry who will say “nothing changes” in tunnelling. Obvious technological advancements, mergers and retirements aside, many times they are right.
HS2 under review
It is understood that HS2 is at the starting blocks and ready to go. The visible evidence of this can be seen across the county, with major demolition and enabling works around Euston and along the route. The long term effects on spreading wealth northwards can also be seen with development being undertaken in Birmingham and Manchester.
Planning for the twenties
In this issue of Tunnels and Tunnelling International Paola De Pascali reports from the World Tunnel Congress, which was held in Naples in May and saw a number of publications from working groups and committees. The ITA Committee for Technology (ITAtech was particularly prolific.
Wisdom of the Faroes
As I write, the Tunnels and Tunnelling team is preparing to leave for the Rapid Excavation and Tunnelling Conference in the USA, the world’s richest, and one of its largest countries. It always seems to have a megaproject underway or in the pipeline.
Preserving old and new
Joining WTC 2019 in Naples was a full immersion into the Italian art of tunnelling. The plan was to show how engineering and innovation meet archaeology, architecture and art. The beauty of Naples is not only above ground, but it is a cradle of underground works, which unveils a network of Greek and Roman tunnels and underground structures dating to the fourth century BC.
Tunnels and Tunnelling turns 50 this month. Here follows the magazine’s first ever editorial, reprinted in tribute to the founding editor:
Records not worth breaking
In June the tunnelling industry will gather in Chicago for its annual conference, a city that has invested heavily in stormwater management.
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.