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Tunnel-digging robot mimics earthworm action 28 May, 2020
A tunnel-digging robot that mimics the rhythmic movements of earthworms through soil is being developed by the US-based General Electric Company (GE) as part of the Underminer programme. The machine forms part of a recently awarded 15-month USD2.5m grant through DARPA – the Virginia-based Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Although the robot’s operating principles could eventually have applications in the commercial sector, it is currently intended to aid the US military in rapid tunnel boring operations.
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Tunnel construction completed at Peace River site
Thursday, May 28, 2020 BC Hydro has announced a new milestone on the Site C Clean Energy project located on the Peace River in British Columbia, Canada. Two 750m-long diversion tunnels are now finished, as are four gate structures located at the tunnels’ upstream and downstream entrances. In September 2020, the 11m-diameter tunnels will be used to reroute the river around the dam site, allowing for the construction of an earth-fill dam across the main river channel.
Epiroc wins large order for Chuquicamata
Thursday, May 28, 2020 Underground loaders, face drill rigs, rock-bolting rigs and mine trucks, as well as several years of technical support and training, are all part of a USD20m+ order won by Epiroc in April. The order came from Codelco for use at the Chuquicamata underground mine project in northern Chile.
Terratec team TBMs advance in Istanbul
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Good progress is being marked on Istanbul’s 13km-long Ümraniye-Ataşehir-Göztepe (UAG) metro line which, when finished, will form the second north-to-south rail corridor under the Anatolian side of the city. The first of four new Terratec 6.56m-diameter earth pressure balance (EPB) TBMs successfully completed its first intermediate breakthrough into Atasehir station on May 20.
Excavation completed on 'Friendship Tunnel'
Thursday, May 21, 2020 China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group (CREC-2) has completed excavation of the 10km Friendship Tunnel after 37 months of work. Designed by China Railway Eryuan Engineering, the tunnel forms part of the China-Laos Railway – a strategic component of China’s Belt and Road initiative. Located around 370km north of the Laotian capital Vientiane, the tunnel spans the border between the two countries, with 2.5km on the Laos side from which the tunnel was driven.
Musk completes Vegas Loop excavation
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Elon Musk’s Boring Company has completed the excavation of the second Vegas Loop tunnel in Las Vegas, US. Located around 10m below ground, the tunnels will eventually link the convention centre with hotels, casinos, Allegiant Stadium, the airport and eventually to Los Angeles.
Work begins on Munich underground station
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 Works are continuing on Munich’s 11km Second Core S-Bahn railway line with the construction of the underground station Munchen Hauptbahnhof beneath the central railway terminal. Work began in late April on diaphragm walls up to 65m deep which will form part of the retaining structure and outer shell of the new underground station, located 41m below ground level. Construction will use the top-down method following the partial demolition of an existing structure.
Normet expands range of TBM tail sealants
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 Normet has launched what it hails as the next generation of high performance, eco-friendly tail sealants for shielded tunnel boring machines. TamSeal TG91 and TG92 are biodegradable, fire-resistant tail sealants that are formulated using plant-oil-based technology.
UCA announces virtual conference to replace NAT
Thursday, May 14, 2020 With this year’s North American Tunnelling Conference (NAT 2020) cancelled over safety concerns related to the Coronavirus, US-based UCA of SME has announced a replacement online conference event for tunnelling professionals. ‘NATWeek: A Virtual Experience’ will take place from 8 June – 12 June 2020 and aims to share some of the NAT 2020 technical programme, connecting attendees with a virtual tradeshow.
Thames Tideway back up and running
Thursday, May 14, 2020 Despite the Coronavirus having brought UK construction to its knees, tunnelling has resumed on the Thames Tideway tunnel, affectionately known as the ‘super sewer’. London’s currently biggest infrastructure project has been affected in recent weeks by a series of detailed safety reviews and measures instigated to protect workers and the wider community. This has included social distancing and personal travel plans.
Harvey Parker passes away aged 83
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 Dr Harvey Parker, one of the best-known and respected personalities in the global tunnelling fraternity, has died following a two-year battle with cancer. His career spanned 55 years during which he made significant contributions to education, theory and tunnelling practice. His work and achievements were ultimately recognised in 2018 by the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Underground Construction Association, and in 2019 by the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Tunnelling Association (ITA).

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