Shortlisted projects announced for ITA Tunnelling Awards in Paris

Shortlisted projects announced for ITA Tunnelling Awards in Paris

November 13-16 2017 will see leading international specialists in the global tunnelling sector attend the AFTES Congress in Paris which will include a special one-day event: November 15 will be dedicated to the presentation of the shortlisted projects, followed by a banquet and the ITA Tunnelling Awards ceremony.

Launched in 2015 by the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA-AITES), the first two ITA Tunnelling Awards events attracted more than 450 attendees and 200 candidacies.

Several months prior to this event, judges scrutinise candidate applications to select a list of finalists for each of the nine categories.

This year, the event takes place in Paris, an appropriate location given that the French capital was one of the first cities to have exploited underground space as a catalyst for development. Today, the city boasts more than 300km of tunnels.  

Finalists of the ITA Tunnelling Awards, Paris 2017

Major Projects of the Year (over €500m ):

  • Confederation LRT Line (Canada)
  • Delhi Metro Phase 3 expansion networks (India)
  • Tehran Metro Line 6 (Iran)
  • Qatar Rail Metro (Qatar)

Project of the Year (€50m – €500m):

  • Citybanan B4 – 9523 Norrströmstunnel (Sweden)
  • Blue Plains Tunnel (USA)
  • MTR Shatin to Central Link (SCL), Contract 1103 Hin Keng to Diamond Hill Tunnel (Hong Kong China)
  • Tùnel Emisor Poniente (TEP) (Mexico)

Project of the Year (up to €50m):

  • Fjaerland hydro-power plants (Norway)
  • Kennedy Tunnel (Chile)
  • Southwark to City of London deep cable tunnel (UK)

Technical Project Innovation of the Year:

  • Implementing BIM concepts for Karavanke tunnel (Slovenia)
  • Trenchless Construction of Pedestrian Underpass using a rectangular box-jack Tunnel Boring Machine at Thomson East Coast Line Havelock Station (Singapore)
  • Construction of bifurcated section of underground expressway beneath a residential area, application of enlargement/widening technology of a TBM tunnel – a first in global tunnelling (Japan)
  • Enlargement of Precast Segmental Tunnel (Hong Kong, China)

Technical Product / Equipment Innovation of the Year:

  • Strength monitoring using thermal imaging (UK)
  • Automatic drilling jumbo (Finland)
  • RowaTrain – self-driving trackless supply logistic system (Austria)

Sustainability Initiative of the Year:

  • ITO Metro Station (India)
  • Anacostia River Tunnel (USA)

Safety Initiative of the Year:

  • Telemach Cutterhead-Disc Robotic Changing System (Hong Kong, China)
  • BSCU SCL Radial Joint Design (UK)
  • MineARC GuardIAN Remote Monitoring and Diagnostics for Refuge Chambers (Australia)

Innovative Underground Space Concept of the Year:

  • Bostanci Intermodal Hub (Turkey)
  • Cavern Masterplan of Hong Kong – Unlock Hidden Resources for Sustainable City Development (Hong Kong, China)
  • Underground Unlined Rock Caverns for Strategic Storage of Crude Oil at Padur, Karnataka (India)
  • Underground Cemetery in Tunnels (Israel)

Young Tunneller of the Year:

  • Juan David Herrera (Colombia)
  • Roberto Schuerch (Switzerland)
  • Tobias Andersson (Norway)
  • Michele Janutolo Barlet (France)
  • Anthony Bauer (USA)

An insight into the French tunnelling market

With a total output of €86bn, the global tunnelling sector continues to flourish. But what is the situation in France?

Today, the French Tunnelling sector can boast €780m (2016) of finished projects; €3.2bn of on-going projects (2016) and €39bn of planned projects.

  • Many major projects are underway, and one worthy of note is the Grand Paris project that aims to extend the Paris rail network:

Around 205km of new line and 72 stations will be completed in phases through to 2030.
The project will involve the construction of four new, fully-automated metro lines (Nos 15, 16, 17 and 18) and the extension of two existing lines (11 and 14).

Line 15 will be entirely underground and will comprise the excavation of 75km of tunnels; Line 16 will be 25km long, including 5.5km in common with Line 17 which will be 27km long and have nine stations, while the 35km-long Line 18 will have 10 new stations.

The majority of the tunnels will be TBM-bored through Paris basin sediments at depths of between 15-55m below the surface and advancing at rates of 10-12m/day. Up to seven TBMs will work simultaneously on Line 15 with spoil transported down the Seine. Five machines will work simultaneously on Nos 16, 17 and 14 with spoil transported down the Saint Denis canal. Work began in 2015.

  • Two other significant French projects should also be highlighted: the Lyon-Turin rail tunnel and the construction of a third metro line in Toulouse, South-West France:
    • The new Lyon-Turin railway will feature a new twin-tube base tunnel under Mont-Cenis of length 5km (45km in France and 12.5km in Italy). TELT is the contractor on this mega project. The cost of the transnational section is estimated at €8.6bn. TBM ‘Federica’ (135m long, 11.26m diameter, 5MW of power) was launched at St Martin la Porte to excavate a 9km pilot tunnel.
    • In Toulouse preparations are underway for a third metro line to be completed by 2024. The layout of the new line was revealed on 5th July. Linking the west and east parts of the city (Colomiers to Labège) the 27km line will comprise 20 stations and carry around 200,000 people per day. A total 60% of the line will be constructed through tunnels. The ‘Toulouse Aerospace Express’ is expected to stimulate economic development in the city and attract more than 15,000 passengers annually, creating 7,000 jobs per year.

Paris and its underground space: an ancient story

The exploitation of underground space in France stretches back as far as ancient times, specifically in Paris. The first sewer system was set up during the Roman era along a route that is today the Boulevard Saint Michel.

However, the notion of ‘underground space’ as a fundamental component of the city only really began to emerge in the 18th century. In 1777, the creation of ‘the general inspection of quarries’ (IGC) sought to map and catalogue the underground galleries of ancient quarries and thereby help understand areas of potentially unstable ground. At the same time, catacombs were created in order to relieve slum cemeteries.

Later, in the 1930s, the French-Armenian architect Utudjian first introduced the concept of ‘underground urbanism’ to promote the usage of underground space.

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