The ITA Tunnelling Awards 2017 winners revealed

The 3rd edition of the ITA Tunnelling Awards took place in Paris, on November 15th, during the AFTES Congress (French Association of Tunnelling and Underground Space). With more than 400 attendees the ITA Tunnelling Awards is fast becoming a new “rendez-vous” for the global tunnelling industry.

The winners of the prestigious awards are:Major Project of the Year (over €500M): Doha Metro – Qatar

The Doha Metro is an underground, elevated and at-grade rail network that will be built in two phases. The first phase (with an 85km network length) is planned to be operational in 2020, and consists of 3 Lines with 37 stations

For the tunnelling, 470,497 concrete segments were required to produce 70,071 tunnel rings to construct the 111.5km of tunnels, between July 2014 until September 2016. In 2015 Qatar Rail achieved the Guinness World Record of the highest number (20) tunnel boring machines operating on a single project. The continue effort amongst Qatar Rail’s 54,000-strong workforce has enabled the projects’ accident frequency rate to be one of the lowest for any major project in the world. Qatar Rail has been recognized internationally by several prestigious organizations such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Gold Award 2016, the British Safety Council’s International Safety Award in 2017 for Qatar Rail’s Headquarters, and the International Standards Organization (ISO) accreditation in 2016 for quality, environment, health & safety. The Doha Metro will revolutionize the way people move around Doha and its suburbs.

Tunnelling project of the year (€50-500M): MTR Shatin to Central Link (SCL) – Hong Kong – China

The project included high-risk tunnelling in a 4km section of tunnel (as part of the 17km strategic underground railway line), beneath Hong Kong’s highly built-up urban areas. In a complex geological situation, different tunnelling methods were used including cut-and-cover and drill-and-blast only 6m above a live water supply tunnel; and a TBM crossing twice at 6m below an operating railway line.

Project of the year – up to €50M: Fjærland Hydropower Plants (HPP)-Norway

The Fjærland HPP consists of 6 HPPs along the Fjærland Fjord. Two of these HPP involve significant tunnelling challenges which where developed without road access and within strict environmental requirements.

Technical Project Innovation Of The Year: Construction of bifurcation section of underground expressway underneath residential area in Yokohama (Japan)

In this project, instead of using the open cut method, new technology was developed and introduced to construct a large bifurcation section of a 20m wide and 200m length of the main tunnel using trenchless methods directly beneath a residential area. New technologies for widening the tunnel from a segmentally lined tunnel were used, such as the combination of Enlargement Shield Tunnelling Machine (ESTM) and Large Diameter Pipe Roof (LDPR).

The utilization of these advanced technologies contributed to the completion of the bifurcation works without any adverse impact be felt by the residential area at surface and subsequently the successful opening of Yokohama North Line (8.8km) expressway.

Technical Product/Equipment Innovation of the Year : Strength monitoring using thermal imaging – United Kingdom

SMUTI is a completely novel method of monitoring sprayed concrete strength gain. SMUTI allows the strength of the whole shotcrete lining to be monitored continuously in real time from a secure position, bringing huge benefits to safety, quality control and productivity. SMUTI is easier to use, safer and quicker than existing methods and the data is accessible, auditable and traceable.

Sustainability Initiative of the Year : Anacostia River Tunnel Project – USA

The Anacostia River Tunnel (ART) is a major component of the DC Water Combined Sewer Overflow remediation program. When completed, the entire project will reduce sewer overflows to the Anacostia River by 98%. The ART is a 3.8km long tunnel with an internal diameter of 7m. Existing overflow sewers are connected to the tunnel using 30m deep shafts with a specially designed configuration to control inflow into the tunnel while reducing wear. Tunnel has 100 year minimum design life. Tunnel was excavated in urban setting with minimum impact to the environment and the surrounding community.

Safety Initiative of the Year : Telemach Cutterhead disc robotic changing system – Hong Kong – China

Telemach is a semi-automatic multi-purpose robotic arm installed inside the front shield of TBM aiming to safely replace used cutter discs with the operator remaining inside TBM control room. During the stoppage for TBM maintenance, the arm is able to manoeuvre into the cutterhead chamber and perform cleaning and replacement of worn discs by a new unit.

This 10 years development project is part of the demonstration that Robotics, adapted to a Tunnelling, can contribute to a better and safer tunnelling environment.

Innovative Underground Space Concept of the Year: Cavern Master Plan – China, Hong-Kong

The project was born by the realisation that rock caverns may serve as a sustainable source of long-term land supply in Hong Kong.

To unleash the potential of this hidden land resource, Hong Kong has formulated its first Cavern Master Plan (CMP) to guide and facilitate the territory-wide application of rock caverns for supporting the continuous social and economic development of the city.  The potential uses of these cavers vary between food/wine storage, archives and data storage, research laboratories, vehicle parking…

With the launch of the CMP, numerous cavern projects covering a wide range of uses are being implemented in 48 Strategic Cavern Areas in the plan.

Young Tunneller of the Year : Tobias Andersson – Norway

Tobias started as a young engineer for JV SkanskaVinci at the notorious and challenging Hallandsas project in Sweden where after 4 years he became a TBM manager. He moved on as TBM Site Manager for LNS AS to become a part of bringing TBMs back to Norway through the Rossaga HEPP, close to the arctic circle, were challenges like extreme winter conditions, karstic ground and very hard rock over 300MPa were faced. Tobias and his team managed a 25ton mainbearing change, 3km into the tunnel in 6 weeks. Now he works as a TBM construction manager for JV SkanskaStrabag at the Ulriken project in Norway and just oversaw a breakthrough in the first railroad tunnel excavated with a TBM in the Norwegian history.

The Lifetime Achievement Award: Prof. Einar Broch

Professor Einar Broch has been a member of ITA since its creation. He was President of ITA from 1986 to 1989, and he is a member of Norwegian Academy Technology Sciences and the Norwegian Society Professional Engineers. He is notably recognized for his outstanding contributions (more than 100 scientific publications) mostly concerned with hydroelectric installations.

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