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Tunnelling key to beating congestion says RAC report

CHEAPER TUNNELLING costs should be taken advantage of in order to build a new generation of road tunnels to beat British road congestion, a new report out next week will claim.

UK tunnelling was previously considered more expensive than on the continent. But partnering contracts have had a big impact on bringing down the cost of tunnelling over the years, claims joint report author and ICE past president Sir Alan Muir Wood.

The report carried out by Muir Wood and Halcrow director David Bayliss will look at the cost of relieving UK congestion over the next 50 years. It will be presented at next Tuesday's RAC Foundation conference, Motoring Towards 2050.

UK tunnels can now be delivered on time and to budget, Muir Wood told NCE this week.

'There will always be hazards with tunnelling, but the art is to manage these factors to ensure they do not turn into risk.

'Poor procurement and fragmentation introduced in the 1980s saw costs rocket and projects delivered late, ' he added. 'Even for conventional building projects, this working practice simply did not work.

But with the uncertain nature of tunnelling, the practice simply did not work squared.'

Tunnelling works on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, the cost of which fall in line with comparable European schemes will be cited as an example of what can be achieved, Muir Wood will claim.

Alan Sparks INFOPLUS www. racfoundation. org/release s/2050_nov02

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