Challenges, opportunities

26 June 2023

Groundwater is never an insignificant part of the challenge of determining what is below the ground surface. It can be present in so many, often puzzling, ways and brings potential for difficulties. Consequently, examinations and what information can be obtained from such investigations carried out, ideally early on, will help to inform approaches for dewatering to counter – or might be needed to solve – construction challenges.

In this issue, two feature articles are contributed by experts for T&T’s technical focus on dewatering: one on the needs of open face tunnels, where interfaces and boundary conditions need considered to develop conceptual models for tunnel works plans; the other reflects upon a number of decades of seeing construction problems come with groundwater flows and the dewatering solutions that sorted the difficulties.

Also in this issue, a further technical spotlight looks not at the use of TBMs, drill and blast jumbos or even roadheaders as excavation methods, but rather mined tunnelling – specifically, the employment of the method to open up a series of tight galleries to help develop an underpinning solution for an operational subway as part of the new Eglinton Crosstown metro development, in Toronto, Canada.

TBMs are in this issue, too: there is a spotlight on some being prepared for use on the Green Line metro link under development in the centre of Taoyuan, in Taiwan; and, T&T presents, in a runner-up paper from the BTS Harding Prize Competition 2023, a description and discussion of the Pressure Ring Launch System used on the Silvertown road tunnel project, in London.

A further technical spotlight is on Building Information Modelling, or BIM – looking at its past, present and future, and noting the ways it can mean different things to different people, but also the opportunities and benefits it offers for developing underground infrastructure.

The potential for greater beneficial use of underground space is an important dimension of the career of Antonia Cornaro, we are pleased to profile in the Interview.

Patrick Reynolds Editor