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International Tunnelling Awards 2010: winners announced

Last week NCE held its inaugural International Tunnelling Awards in central London, to celebrate the outstanding work and innovation in the global tunnelling sector.

The awards recognise the scale of the contribution that the tunnelling sector plays in the delivery of modern infrastructure across the world. They cover projects but also the innovation, designers and safety initiatives - all vital to today’s tunnelling sector.

In total it is estimated that some £25trillion will have to be spent on infrastructure around the world by 2030 as nations rush to meet the challenges of increasing urbanisation, ageing populations and climate change. Some countries are also using infrastructure spending to promote growth at a time when they are facing tough economic challenges.

Tunnelling is expected to play a significant part in this programme across the world.

The awards

Tunnelling project less than £10M

Sponored by Arup


Capita Symonds for Green Park Underground Station

The only practical location for a new shaft to enable step-free access to the Piccadilly and Victoria Line platforms at Green Park Underground station was from Green Park itself, adjacent to the Ritz Hotel. The project demonstrated how to undertake delicate sprayed concrete lining works in a central London location, adjacent to prestigious buildings and next to movement-sensitive underground pedestrian and railway tunnels, without disruption to either the public using the Underground, the streets above or the nearby businesses and hotels.

The judges said: “Teamwork made this job a success. The client drove the project in a complex environment. The successful outcome was delivered by all parties and clearly demonstrated not only the use of a pioneering technique but also an acute understanding of the client’s needs. It was a wonderful combination of labour supply contractor, designer and client.”

Highly Commended
Mott MacDonald for the Dorchester Service Link
The judges said: “In a industry where mechanised tunnelling is at the fore, this project demonstrates the value of traditional tunnelling skills. It is heroic stuff and the right solution.”

Galldris Construction for Kings Cross Station MIP Lift 5 and Ramp 4


Tunneller of the year

Dr James E Monsees, Parsons Brinckerhoff

Continuing a career that has spanned a half-century, James Monsees has contributed his vast expertise to several of the most significant tunnelling projects completed or under way in the US. As technical director for tunnelling for Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), Jim has participated in every significant tunnelling project undertaken by PB since January 2009 and has been with the company for 27 years. From the beginning of his career, more than 50 years ago, Jim has dedicated himself to the development and advancement of the underground engineering industry. He is responsible for the technical quality and consistency of all PB underground projects and his contributions to the advancement of tunnelling professionals have benefited the many engineers he has mentored and guided over the years.
The judges said “James has spent his career working hard to drive forward the tunnelling world and has without doubt made the US market, in particular, much more aware of international best practice. He is a lifelong tunneller and has pursued a rounded career both practising and lecturing and is recognised as an expert in his field across the world. This award recognises his contribution to the global tunnelling world over decades.”

Martin Baughurst, Costain, Tesco Tunnel Reconstruction at Gerrards Cross


Tunnel design firm of the year

Sponsored by CH2M Hill

Parsons Brinckerhoff
During 2009, Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) made substantial design contributions to some of the most complex and technically challenging tunnel projects in the world today. In New York City, PB is at work on four major tunneling projects, with a total estimated cost of more than £15bn. PB’s tunnelling services range from feasibility studies to operation. The firm is instrumental in advancing new technologies to address the challenges of building tunnels for transportation, water conveyance, power/energy and scientific research.

The judges said: “Parson Brinckerhoff has had an outstanding year with a series of extremely complex tunnelling projects underway across the globe. Its work on New York’s Line 7 was completed, to the delight of the client, on time and to budget and its complex Eastside extension in Los Angeles has been celebrated as an exemplar of how to manage an urban project with minimal disruption. Outside of the US, the firm has also picked up major design projects in Istanbul, Australia and on the Tyne Tunnel in the UK. The firm is at the cutting edge of what is possible in the tunnelling world and has been rewarded by a host of complex and challenging commissions this year.”

Highly commended
Mott MacDonald, Halcrow Group

Arup, Atkins, Vinci Construction Grands Projets


Tunnelling Project of the year (£10M-£100M)

Hyder Consulting for the Top Ryde Shopping Centre Redevelopment, Sydney

Hyder’s concept design, detailed design and construction supervision of three tunnels and two cut-and-cover access ramps formed a crucial part of the Top Ryde Shopping Centre Redevelopment. The owners had described it as “too difficult” a task to complete because of tricky geological conditions and the site’s position next to, and below, one of Sydney’s busiest roads.

The judges said: “This project was delivered with huge competence and success despite working with very difficult ground conditions and in a highly constrained operating environment. The team worked closely together to bring forward innovative solutions and so deliver the client a great finished product on time and to budget.”

Highly commended
Costain for the West Ham Flood Alleviation Scheme

BAA for the Heathrow Transfer Baggage Tunnel
Costain for the M25 Bell Common Tunnel Refurbishment
Vinci Construction Grands Projets UK for the Maliakos Kleidi T1 Tunnel, Greece


Environmental award

Sponsored by Parsons Brinckerhoff


J Murphy & Sons for West East Link Main (WELM)

Murphy is the principal contractor for the West East Link Main, a £125M pipeline for United Utilities, acknowledged as one of the most ambitious pipeline projects in the North West.
Two significant environmental initiatives were a switch from open cut construction to microtunnelling in an area where the pipe runs down an unstable, contaminated slope. The second is the production of, and adherence to, a Material Management Plan.
This ensured all excavated material proposed for reuse was suitable and not classified as waste.

The judges said:”There was no technical project need to carry out this initiative but the team went the extra mile to ensure that waste was only removed from the site when absolutely necessary. They put in place screening measures and invested in the equipment needed to properly and effectively manage waste arising on site. The initiative yielded benefits to the client by properly planning the work.”

Maccaferri for Hobsons Bay Sewer & Stormwater Tunnel


Tunnelling project £100M to £1bn

Balfour Beatty A3 Hindhead Tunnel and Road Improvement Scheme
Minimising environmental impact while maximising economic benefits meant that innovation, sustainable solutions and value engineering were at the forefront of design and planning. The team put a community support programme in place that organised 105 presentations attended by more than 6,500 people. Safety was high on the agenda and to date over 1.4M man hours have been worked without a reportable accident. Four years into this major civil engineering project the tunnel and the new stretch of A3 have been successfully constructed on time and to budget.

The judges said: “This project was very well planned and executed with great thinking around safety. The spray applied waterproof membrane was a tremendous step forward for UK tunnelling and underlined an altogether innovate design and construction process.
The focus on economic construction saved over £12M and good community relationships ensured that the work in this tricky and highly congested road network, proceeded smoothly.

Costain for the Tesco Tunnel, Gerrards Cross
DirectRoute (Limerick) Construction for Limerick Tunnel
J Murphy & Sons for the Lower Lea Valley Cable Tunnels Project (LLVCT).
Mott MacDonald for the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART), Kuala Lumpar
Parsons Brinckerhoff for No. 7 Line Subway Extension, New York
Atkins and Morgan-Farrans for the Belfast Sewers Project


Safety Initiative of the year

Sponsored by Vinci Grands Projets

Arup for High Speed 1

Arup was the lead designer for the integration and station upgrade of the King’s Cross redevelopment. This milestone represents the last piece of the High Speed 1 jigsaw and marks the culmination of Arup’s 20 years of involvement in the scheme. This was a fitting way to finish the project, the magnitude of the main tunnelling contracts for HS1 contrasts well with the sheer complexity and coordination required to deliver the King’s Cross element of the project.

The judges said: “Arup’s work to advise the UK Department for Transport on the massive and hugely ambitious High Speed 1 rail project has demonstrated its multidisciplinary capabilities and the ability to deliver both highly complex technical advice alongside vital and politically sensitive advice on routing and impact mitigation.
“Specifically, the work to reduce impact and cost of the major tunnelled sections of the route have enabled the project to move from simply a nice idea to become a fully fledged politically backable scheme.”

Also shortlisted
Heath Lambert Group for
Crossrail and Lee Tunnel Project

Technical Innovation

Sponsored by BASF Meyco

Halcrow GRANIT

GRANIT (Ground Anchor Integrity Testing) is the world’s first rapid, effective, multiple capability, non-destructive anchor integrity testing system for rockbolts and other civil engineering ground anchorage systems. GRANIT has the potential to realise significant cost savings. It can be used on existing anchors to help scope remedial works, but it can also be used on newly installed anchors for quality assurance and quality control purposes, potentially reducing rework.

The judges said: “This is a genuinely new application and an innovation for the future
particularly as rock bolts and ground anchors become more and more important in efficient modern tunnelling.
Halcrow has invested time and resources to develop an known technology so as to bring a new commercial application to the market. The result provides a very cost effective yet highly reliable method of assessing the performance of ground supports and is applicable across a full range of applications and industries. “

Aecom Asia Company, Po Shan Tunnel Project
Atkins for London Underground deep tunnel inspection and assessment

Tunnelling project over £1bn

Swiss Tunnelling Society for the Gotthard Base Tunnel

The design and construction of the Gotthard Base Tunnel has achieved many milestones in tunnelling technology, including: TBM tunnelling in hard rock with overburden of more than 2,300m; intermediate attacks over shafts with depths of more than 800m; tunnelling in squeezing ground (deformation of more than 1m in radius); rock temperature of more than 45°C; reuse of the muck as aggregates for concrete; safety concepts and design (two running tubes and no safety gallery and compensating ­multi-functional stations); and the use of a permanent risk management accompanied by high precision monitoring underground and above ground.

The judges said: “This is a truly heroic project and credit must go to an awful lot of different people. It demonstrates that it is possible to run a properly internally coordinated project. This project has really brought forward the art of tunnelling and has driven advances in mechanistic techniques. Gotthard will act as the benchmark for future base tunnels.”

Highy commended
Halcrow for Busan Geoje immersed tube tunnel

Atkins for Dubai Metro
Atkins for Gautrain
Changjiang Tunnel & Bridge Company supported by Aecom for the Shanghai Yangtze river tunnel
Vinci Construction Grands Projets UK for Duplex A86





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