Blogs ArchiveArchive of blogs from the global tunnels industry
Blogs By Date
Equipping for the future
A fresh array of tools for designers and constructors is coming into play with the rising wave of digitalization. Tools are adding to the potential ways of developing and operating all types of infrastructure and energy assets, including those with tunnels.
Exchanges and views
Come autumn, come the season of meetings and gatherings and intimate conversations, in huddles as days shorten and darker evenings return, and openly at large events that draw interest from across the industry.
Space below, time above
Most often, the focus of discussion surrounding projects can be about how tunnelling is being done or could have been executed. Attention is paid to process details, to design but most of all to the many choices for construction, and then the details of equipment and materials, and logistics and cost, and minimising risk while overcoming what surprises the ground may reveal as tunnels advance.
With the global industry gathering in Copenhagen for the first in-person World Tunnel Congress for a few years, much more focus is on sustainability in the creation and long-term use of underground space.
Taking a grip
We are always looking to the future while trying to learn useful tips from the past, whether from our own history or the experiences of those kind enough to share lessons.
Using London’s newly-opened Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) is a wonderful experience. How marvellous when everything is fresh and operates seamlessly. Congratulations to all teams and crews involved.
See you in Philly
This issue of Tunnels & Tunneling North America (TTNA) will be circulated at the North American Tunneling show (NAT) and it’s gratifying to see that after a Covid-enforced break, NAT is back with us once more. It’s going to be a great show and we look forward to seeing you there.
A couple of milestones
We mark two completions this month, one momentous, the other – well, perhaps not so.
A Perfect Storm
Challenges come thick and fast. Energy price volatility, the war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions, a global shipping crisis, the talent shortage, 30-year-high inflation, ‘great resignations’, and lingering Covid-19 (with new lockdowns in China) are combining to further impact our lives. To have so much disruption on so many fronts, simultaneously, is highly unusual and does not bode well. It could all be leading to a massive crisis.
Saving the land of milk and honey
Melons, peaches, almonds, pistachios, garlic and wine are just part of California’s bounteous agriculture that amounts to a US$50bn/year industry. If you include dairy, the Golden State supplies around one quarter of the food consumed in the US. But it will not for much longer if the drought continues.
This month, we feature the obituary of John Bartlett, inventor of the slurry tunnelling machine who died last year at the age of 94.
Time to get snapping
Over the past 50-odd years, technology has advanced at an astonishing rate. American theoretical physicist Michio Kaku’s famous assertion that today’s smart phone has more computing power than NASA had at the time of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon shot shows just how far we have come.
Taking the softer approach
As a non-engineer, my knowledge of tunnelling would have been undeniably poorer without my well-thumbed copy of ‘Introduction to Tunnel Construction’ by Chapman, Metje and Stärk. Thus invaluable ‘bible’ of a book, with its hugely ambitious scope, has been my trusted reference over the years, guiding me ever so gently through the difficult ground of tunnelling.
Bla Bla... And a brighter future
So, here we are at the end of another year. I guess I could drone on, Greta Thunberg style, about how difficult these 12 months have been for us all bla bla bla; the pandemic bla bla bla; the amazing T&T redesign bla bla bla. But I won’t.
Old not obsolete
An interesting news story caught my attention this month concerning the fate of a 126-year-old freight tunnel in the US. Far from abandonment, disrepair or demolition, the Howard Street Tunnel (HST) in Baltimore is to get a new lease of life. And it’s a wonderful story.
Ladies in waiting
Women make up around half of the world’s population but are underrepresented in nearly every walk of life. Especially construction. In the UK, women make up roughly 13% of the construction industry; in the US it is about the same. But the majority of these will be working in office and admin roles. Go to site and it’s a different story.
Not at all boring
We now know the details of The Boring Company’s much anticipated, inaugural Not-A-Boring-Competition final that was held in Las Vegas on September 12. The results make interesting reading. Twelve finalists used their custom-designed boring machines to build a 30m-long, 500mm-diameter tunnel as fast, as straight and as accurately as possible.
Lobbying can be a force for good
So, amid much anticipation, the US Senate has finally passed the US$1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Now, the package must clear the House, after which it will go to the president who will sign it into law.
Tunnel flood woes any ideas?
This month, in Zhengzhou, China, at least four people died when a road tunnel almost completely filled with water following a record 624mm of rain in 24 hours. During the same weather event in that city, a subway tunnel was deluged, with commuters up to their knees in water. In London, less dramatically but equally worrying, torrential rain and flash flooding put at least two stations out of action. And there are other instances elsewhere.
A new era, A new look
July 2021 brings a fresh new look to Tunnels and Tunnelling which has been designed to bring order, clarity and a more relaxed feel. But the changes are not just aesthetic. We have made structural changes to ensure T&TI keeps up with the times.