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Crossrail fears shortage of sprayed concrete tunnellers

CROSSRAIL BOSSES fear they could run into shortages of sprayed concrete tunnellers because the £10bn project could coincide with other underground rail jobs.

'There will be a shortage of people experienced in sprayed concrete lined tunnel construction, ' said Crossrail head of public affairs Bernard Gambrill.

'It is a highly skilled position.

These people need to be able to assess how far to dig and spray concrete depending on the state of the geology, ' he said.

'At its peak there will be 14,000 people working on Crossrail and this raises the question of co-ordination and the ability of the industry to meet this need, ' he said.

Gambrill was speaking at the Railway Civil Engineers Association seminar on future UK rail projects, held at the Infrarail 2005 event in Manchester last week.

Sprayed concrete linings will be used extensively throughout the construction of Crossrail crossover caverns, although 13 tunnel boring machines will drive the running tunnels.

Skills shortages will be worsened by the fact that several projects that could use the same techniques will be under construction at the same time.

These include the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link and Thameslink.

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