Blogs Archive

Archive of blogs from the global tunnels industry

Blogs By Date

June 2022

Top

Being realistic
24 June 2022 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
22 June 2022 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.

May 2022

Top

A couple of milestones
23 May 2022 We mark two completions this month, one momentous, the other – well, perhaps not so.

April 2022

Top

A Perfect Storm
22 April 2022 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
14 April 2022 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.

March 2022

Top

Vitruvian man
17 March 2022 This month, we feature the obituary of John Bartlett, inventor of the slurry tunnelling machine who died last year at the age of 94.

February 2022

Top

Time to get snapping
21 February 2022 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.

January 2022

Top

Taking the softer approach
28 January 2022 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.

December 2021

Top

Bla Bla... And a brighter future
29 December 2021 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
28 December 2021 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.

November 2021

Top

Ladies in waiting
29 November 2021 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.

October 2021

Top

Not at all boring
19 October 2021 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
11 October 2021 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.

August 2021

Top

Tunnel flood woes any ideas?
12 August 2021 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.

July 2021

Top

A new era, A new look
27 July 2021 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.

June 2021

Top

Notes from underground
07 June 2021 Persuading lay people and decision makers of the potentially life-improving benefits of subsurface developments can be an uphill task. The popular imagination has been conditioned since childhood to think of the underground in terms of being dark, dirty, unwelcoming and potentially menacing, not a place to linger in for long. This is reinforced by the influence of popular fiction and Hollywood movies such as ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’, and the fearful associations many of us may have with burial and entombment. So, how can the ill-informed and the sceptical be persuaded that subsurface developments can be attractive, adaptable, safe, sustainable and resilient, not only promising new urban typologies but also new ways of living?

May 2021

Top

Here we go again?
20 May 2021 First, there was Elon Musk who claimed to be able to increase the speed of TBM tunnelling by ten.

April 2021

Top

A tool of conservation
05 April 2021 Some of you may raise an eyebrow or two at the article on p29 of this month’s issue of T&TI seeing it is an extract from an arts magazine. But I make no apologies for its inclusion in this distinguished tunnelling journal.

March 2021

Top

Here’s to another 50 years
23 March 2021 In my current capacity as chairman of the Tunnels and Tunnelling Editorial Advisory Board (EAB), I was pleased to be asked by the Editor George Demetri to write this comment on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the British Tunnelling Society (BTS).

Making progress
15 March 2021 There are now around 9.5m fewer jobs in the US than before the pandemic. President Biden is planning to rebuild American infrastructure at a time of profound national crisis when he could have been forgiven for concentrating on a stimulus package which prioritised unemployment, coronavirus vaccines, childcare and other pressing social issues.