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Drought-tackling tunnel wins major award

The firms behind a 5km long, 6m diameter tunnel designed to transfer water from a critical reservoir in a drought-hit part of the US have won a prestigious award.

Vegas Tunnel Contractors and Arup were crowned winners of the Global Tunnelling Project of the Year (over $500M) Award for the Lake Mead Intake No 3 Shaft and Tunnel at the 2015 New Civil Engineer Tunnelling & Underground Space Awards.

Judges said the winning project had overcome huge technical challenges and had genuinely pushed boundaries. They were said to be in awe at the scale of the challenge and the way a collaborative relationship between tunnel owner and contractor meant project changes and huge technical challenges were overcome with not a single claim or contractual dispute.

London Underground picked up the Global Tunnelling Project of the Year (up to $500M) Award at the glittering London ceremony this week, for its Bond Street Station Upgrade.

There was a special award for Crossrail. The £15bn trans-London project, on which tunnelling began in 2012 and ended at Farringdon this summer, picked up the Judges’ Supreme Award. This is made for projects that make a game-changing impact on the industry.

Eight 1,000t tunnelling machines bored 42km of 6.2m-diameter rail tunnels under London in three years. Dedicated teams worked 24 hours a day to complete the tunnels. The machines advanced at an average of 38m per day, with a record of 72m recorded by one machine in 24 hours.

Judges said everything on the project had been covered to a high degree of excellence, from the way the way the project team engaged with the public, to the procurement strategy that was seeing it delivered within budget and programme.

Announcing Crossrail as the winner, New Civil Engineer editor Mark Hansford said: “It is quite simply something the industry should be really proud of and should make far, far more of.”

A Kier, Laing O’Rourke and Kaden joint venture scooped the Specialist Tunnelling Project of the Year Award for the Admiralty Station Expansion Project in Hong Kong.

Judges said the project was clearly a challenging endeavour that had been driven using innovation, pragmatism and clinical management of temporary conditions. The work was completed from restricted surface sites with sensitive stakeholders and neighbours.

Ponciano Perez Lupi from Bam Ferrovial Kier Joint Venture was named as Rising Star of the Year. Lupi was said to be always willing to go the extra mile and to be passionate about the development of young engineers and apprentices.

Tunnelling Team of the Year was named as Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company. Tunnel Operator of the Year was SSL Civil Maintenance, London Underground.

The Sustainable Use of Underground Space Award went to the Drainage Services Department, Hong Kong SAR Government and Aecom Asia.

Atkins and Heathrow Airport scooped the Fire Safety Initiative of the Year Award, while Compressed Air Working Group was awarded the Safety Initiative of the Year.

The Rehabilitation Project of the Year Award went to London Underground for the Bond Street to Baker Street Tunnel Relining Project.

BBMV’s Uphill Excavator picked up two awards – Product/Equipment Innovation of the Year, and Technical Innovation of the year.

The winner of the Design Innovation of the Year Award was UnPS for work on the Lee Tunnel. Aecom and Senceive scooped the Ground Investigation and Monitoring Award for the Great Western Electrification Project – Box Tunnel Track Lower.

Hansford said: “Now in their sixth year, these awards celebrate tunnelling success and recognise overall excellence in the delivery of international tunnelling projects.

“Our winners – and indeed all our finalists – amply illustrate the brilliance of this industry: its ability to innovate, find solutions to tough problems, and fundamentally to crack on regardless.

“This week we have rewarded some fantastic projects and people. Congratulations to them all.”


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