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Archive of industry news from the global tunnels industry

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September 2020

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New milestone achieved on Tideway
28 September 2020 Tunnelling on Tideway has now reached another significant marker with the completion of the western section of the main tunnel, which at depths of between 30-35m below ground is also the shallowest along the entire alignment.

Webuild makes twin breakthrough on Italian high-speed line
25 September 2020 Webuild Group is celebrating two breakthroughs on the 53km-long Terzo Valico del Giovi high-speed rail line between Milan and the port of Genoa in northern Italy. The double breakthroughs mean that nearly half of the 36km underground section has been completed.

Strabag begins Karawanks Tunnel refurbishment
24 September 2020 Austrian construction group Strabag is continuing work on the €68.4m (US$79m) contract awarded in July 2020 by ÖBB-Infrastruktur for the rehabilitation and modernisation of the Karawanks Railway Tunnel (Lot KRT 1 Karawankentunnel – Construction Technology).

Laser-drilling technology may benefit tunnelling
24 September 2020 Idaho-based Merger Mines Corp says it has laser and robotics technology that has the potential to benefit not only mining but also large-bore tunnelling, dams and other construction applications.

WTC2021 cancelled, Denmark now to host WTC2022
21 September 2020 ITA-AITES has cancelled the WTC2021 conference due to the uncertainties arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was taken by a vote of the 78 member nations of the ITA General Assembly which took place last week during the virtual WTC2020 congress.

VDOT gives green light for HRBT construction start
18 September 2020 A Notice to Proceed (NTP) has been issued by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for construction work to start on the US$3.8bn Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion project in Virginia, US.

Flooding raises questions over SMART tunnel efficacy
17 September 2020 Questions are being asked as to why the SMART tunnel did not protect Kuala Lumpur after extremely heavy rainfall caused major flooding in the Malaysian capital recently.

New Sandvik simulator is designed for safer training
15 September 2020 Underground drill operators and maintenance teams can now train in a safer environment thanks to the introduction of the latest Sandvik training simulator. Sandvik says it has developed Digital Driller to improve performance in underground hard-rock drilling, whether in tunnelling or mining applications.

WTC2020 opens successfully but without the usual ceremony
14 September 2020 Monday 14 September saw the official opening of the World Tunnel Congress (WTC2020) under an extraordinary virtual scenario brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

IEM confirms WTC2020 congress format
11 September 2020 Malaysia’s Institution of Engineers (IEM) has outlined the format of the 2020 World Tunnel Congress (WTC2020) which has been transferred to a full digital platform due to safety concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The decision to go virtual by streaming the programmes via a secured digital platform was taken in conjunction with ITA-AITES.

Barhale in £22m Thames Water tunnels and aqueducts win
11 September 2020 UK-based civil and infrastructure services provider Barhale has secured a key Thames Water AMP7 contract. The four-year, £22m (US$28m) programme involves inspections and works on the Thames Water Ring Main (TWRM) and raw water tunnels.

First TBM holes through on Milan M4 central section
11 September 2020 Webuild Group has announced that on 9 September the first of two TBMs boring the central section of Milan’s M4 metro line broke through at the future Solari underground station. The second TBM is expected to hole through in a few days’ time.

Mumbai TBM to start coastal road work next month
10 September 2020 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to begin tunnel boring on the Mumbai Coastal Road Project, India, by October 25, reported The Hindustan Times. The 3.4km-long twin tunnels form part of the Coastal Road between Priyadarshini Park at Malabar Hill and Girgaum Chowpatty.

Manila accepts first two of 25 TBM army
09 September 2020 Officials from the Philippine’s Department of Transportation have accepted the first two of 25 TBMs that will be used to bore the US$7bn Metro Manila Subway Project.

Mayor of London pressured to scrap tunnel
08 September 2020 The Labour Party has called on Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, to urgently review plans for the proposed £1.2bn (US$1.55bn) Silvertown road tunnel in East London.

Switzerland opens Ceneri Base Tunnel
07 September 2020 Switzerland’s 15.4km Ceneri Base Tunnel (CBT) was officially opened on Friday 4 September after 10 years of construction work. Its completion forms the third and final component in the US$25bn New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA) flat route linking northern Europe to the Mediterranean.

Jobs boom heralded as HS2 construction starts
04 September 2020 After 10 years of planning and development work – not to mention heated debate, noise and anticipation – construction work has formally started on HS2, Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

Hudson Tunnel project costs rise by US$275m
02 September 2020 A recent updated financial plan has revealed that the overall costs of the Hudson River rail tunnel project now stand at US$11.6bn, an increase of US$275m. The projected start of major construction has also been pushed back by one year to 2022 due to uncertainties over federal funding and environmental sign-off.

New tunnelling company formed
02 September 2020 Lyon-based BMS along with Peninsula Capital Management have announced the creation of NFM Engineering, a company which will specialise in tunnel engineering and related services.

Lötschberg repair works to start next week
02 September 2020 Starting Monday 7 September, Swiss rail operator BLS will begin the remedial works to prevent further sand and water ingress into the Lötschberg Base Tunnel. This will involve renovating the east bore of the 14km twin-bore section while allowing the majority of passenger services to continue.