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ITA News #66


Message from Tarcisio Celestino -President of ITA 2016-2019

Each year, the ITA Tunnelling Awards conference brings better news. During a whole day, high-level presentations by the finalists have shown the latest developments in many sectors of the tunnelling industry. It is not only a summary of what has happened, but it is mainly a solid source of inspiration on what can be done further related to the use of underground space, technological development, safety initiative, etc.

The conferences have shown what has already been developed as well as what can and should be used to improve many aspects for underground construction. More and amore, we have seen each year the innumerous possibilities of further development. This is the case with both mechanized and conventional tunneling. The possibilities which on-board electronics and photonics have brought are far from being fully explored. The new capabilities of artificial intelligence and other tools to manipulate big data have also open many possibilities for developments.

Another interesting aspect of the presentations by the finalists is that even though they focus on the specific topic of their entry, all of them seem to adopt a holistic approach to tunneling. It is rewarding to notice, for example, how contractual practices and safety measures are well considered in entries related to technical developments, and vice versa.

I want to take the opportunity to congratulate once more all the finalists and more specifically all the winners.


Tarcisio Celestino

President of ITA 2016-2019

To view the latest press release from the ITA please click here

2018 ITA Tunnelling Awards: winners announced

The 4th edition of the ITA Tunnelling Awards took place in Chuzhou, November the 7th, following the 20th CTUC conference (Chinese Tunnels and Underground Works Conference), with more than 300 attendees. Through 8 categories and 1 Lifetime Achievement Awards, the ITA Tunnelling Awards identify and reward major disruptive innovations and groundbreaking projects. THE WINNERS: Major Project of the Year (over €500M) : The Immersed Tunnel of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge – China Project...

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2018 winner of the major project of the year (over €500M) category: The immersed tunnel of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

 It has taken 8 years to create this 6.7 km tunnel, immersed on 5.6 km, connecting the cities of Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao, crossing the sea of Ling Ding Yang at the Pearl River Delta of South China. The tunnel was assembled with 33 elements of 180m in length, 11.4m in height and 37.95m in width, for a weight of 80,000 tons. Those are the world’s largest tunnel elements. Artificial islands have been created at the both ends of the tunnel to connect it to the bridges. This bridge link is 45m...

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Winner of the project of the year (between €50M & €500M) : The Queershan tunnel on national road 317

G317, also known as northern line of Sichuan-Tibet Highway, is 2,030km long from Chengdu, Sichuan to Nagqu, Tibet, and is an important channel connecting Sichuan Province with Tibet Autonomous Region. Queershan section passes through a Puerto at 5,050m above sea level, which is the highest section of G317. With frequent traffic accidents and extremely high safety risks caused by steep terrain, severe climate and complex geological conditions, this section is called "The highest and the most dangerous...

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2018 winner of the project of the year incl. renovation (up to €50M): Zarbalizadeh Shallow Tunnel Construction underneath the operating railways

The purpose of this project is to construct the Zarbalizadeh underpass in the 16th district of Tehran, Iran, which is the East-West connection between two urban areas and lead to reduce the traffic and travel time in this dense and populated demographic region. The project has been constructed by going under the subway line of Tehran Metro Line 1 with 3 minutes headway time and 550,000 daily commuters, and the North-South Railway with transportation of 40,000 passengers and a hundred tons of goods...

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Technical project innovation of the year: a mechanized method with large section horseshoe shape epb-tbm first applied in loess mountain tunnel

Constructing mountain tunnel in loess stratum usually employs advance support, sequential excavation method (SEM) and double lining. Such method is lack of safety and slow. So, we have developed the large horseshoe-shaped EPB-TBM with multiple cutterheads for the mountain tunnel project in loess. Compared with conventional SEM, the proposed method in the project is safe and fast. It could also guarantee the quality of construction and the working environment. Compared with single circular cutterhead...

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Technical product/equipment innovation of the year: Multifunctional energy-storage and luminescent material for sustainable and energy-saving lighting for tunnels

Entrances and exits road tunnel are high-risk areas for traffic accidents. The average energy cost for the lighting in road tunnels is estimated to be around 900,000 RMB (c.a. 150,000 US dollars) per kilometer annually. Safety and energy saving are always hot issues of road tunnel lighting. Recent studies show that the design of operation lighting for road tunnels should not only focus on the brightness and uniformity of the road, but also minimize the “black hole” and “white light” phenomenon...

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Safety initiative of the year: ROBY 850 - Semi-automatic drilling robot

Advance in construction technology has enabled longer and larger tunnels to be built, and hence more E&M services are being installed along the tunnels to provide ventilation, lighting, security, communication, and fire service etc. There is an increasing demand, for construction workers, to install the E&M services and cladding, in particularly, drilling anchors and installing permanent utility containment system including cable brackets and cable trays. Current practice requires a surveyor or lineman...

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Innovative underground space concept of the year: Norwegian rock blasting museum

The Norwegian Rock Blasting Museum is an underground museum located at Hunderfossen near the Olympic City of Lillehammer in Norway. The museum was created 25 years ago by the main stakeholders of the industry, to recognize Norway’s close and extensive history with tunnels.
The Norwegian Rock Blasting Museum is an entertaining and informative journey through the history of Norwegian tunnelling and rock blasting, with a 240-m long semi-circular tunnel as the main attraction. The tunnel display...

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Giuseppe M. Gaspari: Young Tunneller of the year

Giuseppe M. Gaspari was born on November 14, 1983. Giuseppe holds a Degree in Civil Engineering, a Master in Geotechnics and a second level Master in Tunneling & TBMs.
He is currently Deputy Project Manager for the West Vaughan Sewage Servicing Project, a 14-km tunnel with 9 shafts in the Greater Toronto Area (Canada), and the Design Project Manager for the Suffolk Outfall in NY (USA).
Giuseppe started his career in the Geodata Engineering center of excellence (Turin, Italy) applying...

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Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Evert Hoek

Evert Hoek was born in Zimbabwe, graduated in mechanical engineering from the University of Cape Town and became involved in the young science of rock mechanics in 1958 when he started working in research on the problems of brittle fracture associated with rockbursts in very deep mines in South Africa. His degrees include a PhD from the University of Cape Town, a DSc (Eng) from the University of London and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Waterloo and Toronto in Canada. He has been elected...

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Registration open for the ITA-CET courses at the WTC 2019 in Naples!

ITA-CET short courses have become a traditional part of the annual World Tunnelling Congresses and 2019 will be no exception. The ITA-CET Committee has been working in close collaboration with the WTC Organising Committee and the ITACET Foundation to prepare two short courses that will be on offer during the WTC in Naples. A two-day course on “Tunnelling 4.0: Information Technology for the Design, Construction and Maintenance of Underground Works“ will be held on 3rd-4th May 2019. The...

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ITA COSUF has supported PIARC first edition in Lyon

In order to promote the latest knowledge on current key issues and to facilitate technical discussions and debate amongst industry stakeholders, PIARC and its French National Committee decided to organise their first "International Conference on Road Tunnel Operations and Safety".
This event was organised with the support of the European Commission, ITA COSUF, the French Centre for Tunnel Studies and the French-speaking Working Group of Road Tunnel Operators. It was aimed at tunnel owners,...

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Successful conference on tunnel renovation

On 27-11-’18 the Belgian and Dutch tunnel associations have had their international congress “Beyond a tunnel vision” on tunnel renovation.
More than 350 participants from all over Europe had travelled to Brussels to hear about the tunnel renovation challenges in specific countries and on a European level. It was an inspiring and informative day, where sharing knowledge and the importance of European cooperation was emphasized by the keynote speakers, amongst others the minister of infrastructure...

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In the press: ITA-CET collaborates with Nepal to train hydro tunnel engineers

Over recent decades, Nepal has been faced with an increasing need for underground engineering and construction expertise. In addition to the need for improved transportation services across the country, water shortages in several regions, due to longer dry winter seasons, have sparked several major hydro tunnelling projects.  To meet growing demands for hydro power, irrigation and water consumption in the east of the country, for example, the 12km long Bheri Babai...

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ITACUS participated in ACUUS World Conference 2018 in Hong Kong

ITACUS was represented by co-chairs Han Admiraal and Antonia Cornaro at the ACUUS World Conference 2018 on ‘Integrated Underground Solutions in Compact Metropolitan Cities’, which took place in Hong Kong from 3-5 November 2018. Presenting on ‘Investment-ready and bankable underground spaces', based on Chapter 7 of their recently published book, they sparked some interesting discussion points amongst the audience. During an expert panel debate, Han Admiraal was able to further contribute by...

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Hashtag campaign #WorldTunnelDay

"World Tunnel Day" has been celebrated all over the world from 3 to 7 December and more specifically on the 4th of December to align with the Feast Day of St. Barbara, the patron saint of tunnellers.  This day is an opportunity for the public to catch a glimpse of the world class infrastructure projects currently being delivered by tunnelling professionals across the world. It also offers a chance for our members to promote the industry to children and students across each country and show them...

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Tunnelling the world 2018 video


For the 4th year ITA has released on the occasion of the ITA Tunnelling Awards a video on the tunnelling works done over the world in 2018.

Enjoy watching it and share it with friends and colleagues


Workshop and Training in Kenya


On December 6th and 7th, a workshop and a training session have been organised in Nairobi, Kenya. Hosted by Athi Water, the training on Underground Space use and Tunnel project management gathered around 5O people from owners, engineering, academics. A full day with 8 presentations has been proposed to the participants. The lecturers were Tarcisio Celestino, ITA President, Han Admiraal, ITACUS co-chair and Olivier Vion, ITA Executive Director. On the previous day, fruitful discussions took place...

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