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Mott MacDonald
  Date 2008
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Tunnelling for the new Lenihan outlet
24 November, 2008
NAT 2008 Student Prize finalist, Shawna Von Stockhausen, of Hatch Mott MacDonald, describes the construction of a tunnel through Franciscan Mélange in California, for the Lenihan Dam Outlet Project

Hindhead hit
27 October, 2008
The A3 Hindhead twin bore tunnels, under construction in England, are taking forward the development of permanent SCL. Report and photos by contributing editor Patrick Reynolds

Sey Cap saga gains impetus
23 September, 2008
In Canada, the saga continues over the fate of the twin water tunnels underneath Grouse Mountain as part of Metro Vancouver’s Seymour-Capilano scheme (T&TNA May p5). The client recently issued a request for qualification to contractors to finish work on the tunnels following the termination of its contract with the Bilfinger Berger /Fru-Con JV. Meanwhile, the contractors have issued a lawsuit and lien against the client, its engineers Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM) and local municipality landowner, the Corporation of the District of North Vancouver,.T&TNA contacted Metro Vancouver to discuss some of the statements made in the contractors’ claim and plans for moving the tunnel project forwards. A spokesman would not comment on legal matters - but was more forthcoming on plans to re-let the balance of the contract, saying that a request for qualification had been issued to 15 possible replacement contractors, with a response expected as T&TNA went to press. Following this, a request for proposal will be issued to qualified bidders, and it is hoped works could resume as early as mid-November. Although Metro Vancouver refused to be drawn on budget, it did release a list of companies in receipt of plans relating to the prequalification (including subcontractors): Frontier-Kemper Constructors; Flatiron Construction; McNally International; SELI; Kiewit & Sons; Dragados; Strabag; Obayashi; Kenny Construction; JF Shea; Balfour Beatty; Traylor Bros; Collings Johnston; SAK; Procon Mining & Tunnelling; Tyam Construction; Sandwell Engineering; Karyo Edelman; Vancouver Reg Construction; Pennecon Heavy Civil; Jewel Holdings; C&M Mcnally Engineering; NAC Constructors; and Roktek Services.When asked about the termination of Bilfinger Berger’s contract and the contractors’ claims of hazardous conditions, T&TNA was told that Metro Vancouver: “disputes so-called “hazardous” conditions exist and has a plan that includes rock bolt and mesh, shotcrete, and, where appropriate, steel sets to manage ground conditions.” When pressed as to whether these recommendations constituted a revised design, and how they differ from the prevailing ground support recommendations - together with a request to clarify its position of refusing to recognise the conditions, but then seemingly acknowledge them with a plan - the Metro Vancouver spokesman stated: “As this is likely to be the subject of court deliberations, I decline to comment.”T&TNA also contacted Bilfinger Berger for comment and received clarification from Contracts Manager, John Penner, who said Bilfinger Berger claim: “Significant damages against Metro Vancouver, the engineer HMM and the landowner The District of North Vancouver”. These claims cover losses, costs and expenses suffered by Bilfinger Berger from the time of the tender, in 2004, to present. Claims for specific unpaid labour and materials that have been physically incorporated into the lands to date, amounting to Can$22,549,579, have been secured by Claims of the Builders Lien and placed against title to the lands.T&TNA asked Bilfinger Berger why its original bid was so much lower than the other two bids at the time and was told: “In 2004, Metro Vancouver and its engineers estimated the cost of the Twin Tunnels project at roughly Can$100 million. Bilfinger Berger submitted its tender for the project in August 2004 at Can$100 million, based on the tender documents, which state that all risks unknown, and more adverse than those contained in the geotechnical report forwarded to bidders, are accepted by Metro Vancouver.”There have been rumours that Bilfinger Berger used the unsafe ground and refusal to change working practices, as proposed by the client, as a means to get out of an unprofitable contract. When T&TNA put this to Penner, he responded: “The decision to stop work was a safety issue. Bilfinger Berger was at all times ready, willing and able to continue the work, but only once a safe and viable design was provided by Metro Vancouver.” Penner says that since work stopped in January, Bilfinger Berger has repeatedly advised Metro Vancouver that any design must take into account the risk of rockfalls, running ground, rock bursts and other manifestations of unexpected overstress rock failures. The client however, has refused to acknowledge the occurrence of rock bursts and has not provided a design solution to meet the safety needs of the workers, which Bilfinger Berger maintains is a contractual requirement. Instead, Penner said the client had provided a “range of recommendations, not a design to complete the tunnel”.Bilfinger Berger has garnered support from unions representing workers at the jobsite. Business managers of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115, Construction & Specialised Workers’ Union Local 1611 and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 213 wrote a joint letter to the Greater Vancouver Water District on May 30. T&TNA obtained a copy of the letter, which says: “It is ludicrous to suggest that [Bilfinger Berger], with its expertise in engineering and its safe completion of many similar projects, is unable to adequately evaluate and manage the safety of the Twin Tunnels project.” The letter went on to say that after workers were injured and exposed to unsafe conditions, the contractor made, “the correct decision to temporarily suspend the work pending a review and analysis of the rock behaviour”. The letter continues: “Inexplicably, instead of commending Bilfinger Berger for their commitment to safety, the GVRD [Greater Vancouver Regional District] has cancelled the entire contract.” In closing, the letter asks GVRD to review its decision to terminate the Bilfinger Berger contract.

Crossrail shortlists
23 September, 2008

London cable tunnel fiesta
19 August, 2008

New prequals at Sey-Cap; Bilfinger countersues
14 August, 2008

The Arrowhead Tunnels project
13 August, 2008
Following the British Tunnelling Society’s Annual General Meeting, Brian Fulcher, project director for Shea-Kenny Joint Venture, and Mike Bell, resident engineer for Hatch Mott MacDonald, described overcoming difficult ground conditions and water pressures with two hybrid hard rock TBMs for the Arrowhead Tunnels in Southern California, US

Client ends Bilfinger work on Seymour-Capilano
11 June, 2008

The Changing Face of Tunneling
05 June, 2008
North American Tunneling - June 7-11, 2008Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, California

Sound Transit’s large-scale SEM station
05 June, 2008
Beacon Hill Station, in Seattle, comprises the largest SEM soft ground excavations in the US to date. Jürgen Laubbichler, of Dr G Sauer Corporation, describes their design and construction in highly variable soils with multiple groundwater horizons

Crossing the Bosphorus and beyond
05 June, 2008
Daniel Horgan and Douglas Madsen of Parsons Brinckerhoff presented a review of the Bosphorus Crossing project at the March meeting of the British Tunnelling Society

Niagara team may face re-alignment
28 May, 2008

Safety concerns halt twin drives at Seymour-Capilano
28 May, 2008

Metro Vancouver terminates Bilfinger Berger contract
28 May, 2008

Denis Mahoney (1947-2007)
29 April, 2008
A well known and much liked British Tunnelling Society member, Denis Mahoney, died suddenly from a heart attack on 16 December, aged 60, following a full and wide-ranging career in many areas of tunnelling and civil engineering construction.

TBM drive for clean energy from Ashlu Creek
29 April, 2008
Crews are past the first of six major fault zones as 4m diameter TBM excavation moves into high gear on the 2.7-mile long tunnel for the Ashlu Creek run-of-the-river hydro project, in British Columbia, Canada. T&TNA contributor Tonia Jurbin reports

Looking at tunnel roughness
29 April, 2008
Research at Kárahnjúkar, Iceland, is providing fresh insight into tunnel wall roughness to estimate headloss. Report by Patrick Reynolds

Olympic high voltage provider
21 April, 2008
Michael Francis, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Arup’s Alan Winter, and Kevin McManus of Murphy presented a review of the UK’s Lower Lea Valley Cable Tunnels project at the January meeting of the British Tunnelling Society

NAT goes to San Francisco
18 April, 2008
2008 North American Tunneling Conference (NAT)June 7-11, 2008 - Hyatt Regency, San Francisco