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Deep impact

NCE continues its countdown to the inaugural International Tunnelling Awards in December with a look at the shortlists for safety initiative and technical innovation.

Safety initiative


Project: Cleaner Seas for Sussex

Firm: 4 Delivery joint venture of Costain, MWH and United Utilities / Southern Water

The 4 Delivery joint venture has created a UK first in partnership with Southern Water by building a training facility for locomotive drivers. The purpose-built tunnel at the Lewes Training Centre delivers instruction to current and new industry employees to
raise standards within the industry and meet the national need. The facility has been built to teach locomotive drivers working on Southern Water’s £300M Wastewater Treatment Works scheme (WTW), where Costain is constructing over 11km
of tunnels.

Project: M25 Bell Common Tunnel Refurbishment

Firm: Costain

The £90.4M, M25 Bell Common Tunnel Refurbishment is an outstanding example of major project excellence, demonstrating excellent operational delivery: safe, ahead of programme and below budget. To achieve this, a healthy, competent and fully safety trained workforce was key. Costain’s initiative was the provision of full health screening for all staff and supply chain members, including drugs and alcohol testing through its own on-site and purpose-built occupational health suite.

Project: Post T5 Transfer

Baggage System

Firm: Ferrovial Agroman UK

Construction of the 2.1km Post Terminal 5 Transfer Baggage System linking T5 to T3 and T1 has been carried out with a record 1.7M hours with zero reportable accidents. It is a Heathrow Capital Projects’ record and is believed to be the best safety performance worldwide for a tunnel. The construction element of the project, now complete, was finished on time and on budget, within a cost of £75.6M and the time frame for excavation of the tunnel of 10 months. The record has been achieved in a unique environment, potentially fraught with risk and underneath the world’s busiest international airport.

Project: Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway, Contract 423

Firm: Mott MacDonald

Singapore’s Nicoll Highway tunnel collapse in 2004 graphically demonstrated the enormous potential danger of design or construction errors. Work on the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway started in its aftermath. Tunnel designers and contractors were tasked with pushing safety standards to new levels and restoring public confidence in major tunnelled infrastructure projects in Singapore. This was most successfully achieved on Contract 423, a 3km fully underground section described as one of the most challenging tunnelling projects in the world. Despite the technical and logistical difficulties, it was delivered without incident, on time and to budget. Innovations developed have been adopted on subsequent tunnelling schemes

Project: TunnelSkills Underground Safety Passport

Firm: TunnelSkills Forum

TunnelSkills introduced its Safety Passport Scheme in September
2009 to ensure that all personnel working underground, in the construction phase, have a basic understanding of health and safety awareness in the tunnelling environment. It was warmly welcomed by clients, contractors and the workforce as a major step forward in tunnel safety.

Technical innovation


Project: Po Shan Tunnel Project

Firm: Aecom Asia

The innovative concept and successful design and construction of the Po Shan Tunnel Project in Hong Kong marks the first dual-function tunnel for slope stabilisation and earthquake monitoring. The project consists of two 3m diameter TBM tunnels and 172 sub-vertical drains installed upward from inside the tunnels and extended onto the soil layer. It is believed to be the first application globally to use tunnels with sub-vertical drains to form a robust subsurface drainage system to regulate groundwater and enhance slope stability.

Project: London Underground - Deep Tube Tunnels inspection and assessment

Firm: Atkins

Over the past three years, Atkins has worked with London Underground Limited in the inspection and assessment of the existing London Underground Deep Tube Tunnels, helping to extend the life of these irreplaceable assets with a raft of innovations including ultrasonic measurement techniques, broadband electromagnetic scanning, ground penetrating radar and photographic inspection of vertical shafts. Until now, although inspected, these 150 year old assets had never been assessed for their present structural condition.

Project: Halcrow GRANIT

Firm: Halcrow

GRANIT (Ground Anchor Integrity Testing) is the world’s first rapid, effective, multiple capability, non-destructive anchor integrity testing system for rockbolts for mining, tunnelling and other civil engineering ground anchorage system. GRANIT has the potential to realise significant cost savings. Not only can it be used on existing anchors to assist in the scoping of remedial works, but it can also be used on newly installed anchors for quality assurance and quality control purposes thereby potentially reducing rework.

  • To book a table or talk about sponsorship contact Rosalind Brewster 020 7728 5280

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