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Current Refinements
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  Date 2015
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Woodhead Pass Tunnel
28 December, 2015
The UK is contemplating the pros and cons of constructing the world’s longest road tunnel. Not yet named, it would be an improvement of the A628 connection between Sheffield and Manchester, located in the Peak District, a hilly National Park in the North of England.

Tunnel dreams
25 November, 2015
IT'S A HOT Sunday evening in late June. I've got an assignment overdue for work; lectures starting early the following morning, and instead of thinking about either I'm heading to the Warwick University Campus Bar. It's good to be back in further education.

Another hurdle
29 October, 2015
In a trip to China, the UK’s chancellor George Osborne has been trying to spark interest in High Speed Two (HS2) investment opportunities. Some GBP 24bn (USD 36.5bn) was laid out for the consideration of potential spenders at an event in Chengdu, the capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan province. Osborne tweeted from the event: “Today we open bidding process for HS2 construction with contracts worth 11.8bn. A milestone in a project key to Britain's future.”

Christie's gamble
29 October, 2015
Protecting his state from potential cost overruns, newly-elected New Jersey governor Chris Christie proudly brought the Access to the Region's Core (ARC) tunnel project to a halt in 2010. The USD 8.7bn rail project under the Hudson River would have connected New Jersey to New York through two, single-track 2.26km-long tunnels.

Fortune telling
13 October, 2015
In the Tunnels and Tunnelling Offices we keep heavy, hardback copies of every issue going back to the first edition in 1969. And it's interesting to look back and see how the tunnelling industry, as well as the wider world, has changed through the decades. One Editor's Comment from the 1980s prophesises that manufacturing in the US is finished because of a strong dollar; another from the late 1990s asks how long the West can continue to financeAsia. And earlier than that there's a lot of ink spent in fearful speculation about the fate of the Channel Tunnel.

Optimism Abounds
13 August, 2015
At the rapid excavation and Tunnelling Conference (RETC) in New Orleans this June, there was a discernable attitude shift of the industry from 2014 to 2015. At the North America Tunneling (NAT) event in Los Angeles—where a news crew local to Seattle roamed the exhibit hall, looking for answers about the stalled TBM on the Alaskan Way viaduct project—the tone of most conversations expressed hesitation, concern and frustration.

Holding out for a hero
27 July, 2015
As I write this comment the Greek banks have closed. Accounts, and non-internal payments for the majority of account holders have been frozen and queues of people are lining up on the high streets to withdraw no more than EUR 60 (USD 66.88) per day. Some hours from now it is due to repay EUR 1.6bn (USD 1.78bn) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but it has just requested a new two-year EUR 29.1bn aid deal from a bailout mechanism that is in place for Eurozone countries.

Give a voice to future tech
25 June, 2015
In a previous comment I wrote about ITA president Soren Eskesen's progress with bringing tunnelling to the attention of the UN bodies studying ways to mitigate the effects of flooding and other natural disasters caused by climate change. He has had some success in this, but talking about innovations and actually putting them in place are sometimes a world apart.

Closing the gender gap
24 June, 2015
Last December, the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering hosted a very well-attended family fair showcasing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Children as young as two years old built bridges out of marshmallows and toothpicks, as part of the civil engineering exhibit, and wide range of other activities designed by student across the various departments captivated the attention of of children of all ages.

Lofty hopes for world's highest
03 June, 2015
FAR ABOVE the destruction and loss of life caused by the Nepal earthquake last month, climbers sheltering at the Everest Base Camp endured days of avalanches. Huddling together under tables, and taking it in turns to dig one another out of smothered tents.

Acknowledging awards
24 April, 2015
Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year to simply promote movies and television shows for events like the Academy Awards and the Emmys. While superficially glamorous, the prestige is lacking with each passing year, with deeper pockets and a growing number of award shows for the entertainment industry.

Tunnel Science
10 April, 2015

High tide
25 February, 2015
It’s an exciting time for the International Tunnelling Association (ITA) leadership. With growing international acceptance that climate change is affecting the world, there are two outcomes. Firstly, governments try to change the habits of the planet to slow the pace of a changing biosphere. This is a boost to the demand for tunnelling on the larger scale; governments looking for low-carbon per capita means of transportation, for example. Metro networks rather than private car ownership.

What is sustainable infrastructure?
03 February, 2015
It's not underground, one would conclude from a report asking, what does the future of sustainable infrastructure look like? Making use of underground space is not once mentioned.

China Decider
29 January, 2015
In December Australia’s multi-industry contracting giant Leighton Holdings announced the impending sale of John Holland to the fourth largest construction company in the world. The buyer, state-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) stressed that it would be “business as usual” for John Holland customers, that it perceived growth opportunities in Australia. Normal commentary during a takeover.

Old dogs teach new tricks
13 January, 2015
BY NOW it's an autumn tradition in the UK. The leaves are turning, the daily commute has the added pleasure of the _ u virus, and a study has warned that we face a critical shortage of engineers.