News Archive

Archive of industry news from the global tunnels industry

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July 2020


First tunnel contracts open for Surat metro
13 July 2020 GMRC (Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation) of India has invited bids for two packages of work covering underground sections of the 21.5km-long Line 1 of the Surat Metro Rail Project.

Drilling kicks-off BC’s gold tunnels
10 July 2020 Toronto-based Seabridge Gold has announced that geotechnical drilling has begun along the proposed alignment of two twin-tube tunnels that will connect a gold/copper mine to a remotely-located mill. The Mitchell Treaty Tunnels (MTT) will form a key component of the KSM gold-copper project in north-western British Columbia (BC), Canada.

JCB electric excavator wins prestigious prize
10 July 2020 JCB’s 19C-1E excavator – hailed as the world’s first volume-produced fully-electric digger – has been awarded the 2020 MacRobert Award by the Royal Academy of Engineering. In addition to a gold medal, the JCB electrification team also receives £50,000.

Excavation completed on Istanbul’s M9 metro
09 July 2020 Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has announced the completion of excavation on the twin tunnels of the city’s Ataköy-İkitelli M9 metro line. A ceremony to mark the end of excavation was attended at the breakthrough site by Ekrem İmamoğlu, mayor of Istanbul.

Metro AI air system may reduce Covid-19 risk
08 July 2020 Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (Barcelona metro) is about to implement a pilot smart ventilation control system designed to improve environmental quality, hygiene and passenger comfort. This follows a previous scheme undertaken on Line 1 to demonstrate the importance of dynamic ventilation control which was successful in lowering ambient temperatures.

TBM breaks through on Brenner exploratory tunnel
07 July 2020 Final breakthrough has occurred on the 16.5km-long exploratory tunnel of the Tulfes-Pfons section of the Brenner Base Tunnel (BBT), Austria. Following assembly inside a cavern 3.5km deep inside a mountain, the 7.9m-diameter hard rock, Herrenknecht open-gripper TBM (‘Gunther’) started mining on 26 September 2015 from Ahrental eastwards to Steinach, drilling through hard rock to break through on July 6 2020.

Three tunnels favoured for Prague ring road
03 July 2020 Prague could see three tunnels constructed on the north-eastern segment of its 83km-long outer ring road. The city council wants to see the section between Brezineves and Satalice tunnelled as far as possible.

Veteran TBM holes through on Tideway connection tunnel
03 July 2020 TBM Charlotte has completed her drive on an important connection tunnel that forms part of Thames Tideway, London’s 25km-long ‘super sewer’. Holing through on 2 July 2020 at Carnwarth Road, Fulham, southeast London, the 3m-diameter machine has been mining at average depths of around 30m on the Frogmore Connection Tunnel which has been excavated in two parts.

TBM sets new southern hemisphere record
02 July 2020 Auckland, New Zealand has witnessed a new pipejacking record for the longest single drive in the southern hemisphere by a TBM with a diameter greater than 3m.

Forget WTC 2020, look forward to Copenhagen 2021
01 July 2020 WTC 2020, the international conference for tunnelling held annually and due to have taken place in September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has been cancelled.

Ferrovial wins in Portugal
01 July 2020 Spain-based infrastructure provider Ferrovial has been selected as preferred bidder in a two-part contract for the €288m (US$323m) expansion of Porto’s metro. The work involves first, extending the Yellow Line from Santo Olvido station by 3.5km, including the construction of a 770m tunnel, three stations and a viaduct.

June 2020


Ward & Burke sets new Canadian microtunnelling record
30 June 2020 Ward & Burke has successfully completed a record microtunnelling drive of 1,132m on the York Durham Sewage System (YDSS) Forcemain Twinning Project in Newmarket, Ontario. Completed on 8 June 2020, the drive breaks the Canadian distance record and the project’s own record of 950m set four days earlier into the same reception shaft.

Tunnel intransigence blocks Maglev progress
30 June 2020 Work has been delayed on a section of Japan’s US$84bn Tokyo-Osaka magnetic levitation (Maglev) railway by a seemingly immovable obstacle. The governor of Shizuoka prefecture is refusing to allow the excavation of a 9km stretch of a 25km tunnel in the Minami Alps.

Support growing for Great Lakes Tunnel
26 June 2020 Following the March 2020 announcement confirming the selected contractors, and a recent ruling that the construction is constitutional, support for the US$500m Great Lakes Tunnel is growing.

Ceremony marks Terratec TBMs Buenos Aires start
26 June 2020 Assembly has started in Buenos Aires on the first of two 4.66m-diameter Terratec EPB TBMs that will bore the Argentine capital’s Rio Subterraneo a Lomas tunnel. The 13km-long tunnel will form a key part of the multi-billion dollar Agua Sur water infrastructure project - the country’s largest such undertaking in 40 years - and provide fresh water for 2.5 million people in the Southeast Buenos Aires metropolitan district.

Candidates line up to host WTC 2023
25 June 2020 Athens is a lively metropolis full of classical wonder and style, but if the Greek Tunnelling Society (GTS) succeeds in its bid, the Greek capital will also host the ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress (WTC) in 2023.

Excavation work starts on US neutrino facility
25 June 2020 US particle physics and accelerator laboratory Fermilab has announced the start of blasting for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility at the Sanford Underground Research Centre in Lead, South Dakota, US.

Silvertown Tunnel blasted by critics
24 June 2020 ‘Incompatible with London’s plan to become carbon-neutral by 2030’ – that is the damning verdict of a new report from UK-based Transport Action Network on the proposed £1.2bn Silvertown Tunnel in East London.

TBM holes through on Koralm KAT 3 contract
19 June 2020 KORA, a 9.87m-diameter multi-mode Herrenknecht TBM, has achieved final breakthrough on the 10km north bore of Austria’s 32.9km-long (20.5 miles) Koralm Tunnel which, when completed, will be one of the world’s longest transport tunnels.

Still time to enter the ITA Awards
18 June 2020 Time is quickly running out to enter the ITA Tunnelling and Underground Space Awards which close on June 30. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the event will be staged as a virtual one at the end of the year, although the exact date has yet to be confirmed.