London't mega-project known as Crossrail that involves the construction of 118 km (73 mi) of new rail line with 42 km (26 mi) of new tunnels. The geotechnical investigation for Crossrail included rock coring, and some 561 pallets of core are going to be stored inside the mined out portion of a salt mine in Cheshire. The temperature and humidity levels remain consistent year-round making it an ideal place to store the core. According to the NCE article, this material is less than half of the core drilled during the investigation phase of the project. [Source: New Civil Engineer. Image: New Civil Engineer]
This news story aired a few weeks back. It has some great views of the tunneling process but also focuses on some of the social issues, such as complaints about Rats, as well as noise and dust. I guess you can’t please everyone. Check out the video below.
The Norwegian government wants to build a tunnel linking two fjords that would be large enough to pass 16,000 tonne cargo and passenger ships. The treacherous stretch of waterway has seen 46 accidents and 33 deaths since World War II. The 1.7 km Stad maritime tunnel would cost about 1.6B kroner ($274M USD). [Source: The Courier-Mail via ASCE SmartBrief. Image: AFP]
This video for the Massena Lateral Bridge Slide from Iowa DOT shows a very nice 3D rendering of the entire accelerated bridge construction process. They are using a lateral slide method to construct the bridge adjacent to the existing one and then slide it into place within 9 days. From a geotechnical perspective, this bridge will be founded on driven piles, and then pre-cast abutment caps with CMP block-outs will be placed over the piles and the block-outs grouted up. The wingwalls will also be precast with the CMP block-outs and supported on driven piles as well. There will also be a driven pile temporary support structure, and driven piles will be used for the reaction frame to attach the threaded anchor rod used to jack the bridge into place.
This is a great video montage of rock blasting for Washington State DOT's I-90 Snoqualmie Pass project. It's not clear from the description if this blasting actually occurred on this project or its from other projects meant to give Washington drivers a preview of what will be going on this summer on the project. All that's missing is a little classical music, perhaps 1812 Overture?
The world's largest Tunnel Boring Machine or TBM just arrived in Seattle last week from Japan. Hitachi Zosen Corp built the 57 foot diameter TBM and tested it before disassembling it for the journey by boat to the Port of Seattle. Bertha will soon begin it's 16 month journey to bore a tunnel to replace the famous Alaskan Way Viaduct along Seattle's waterfront. [Source: Puget Sound Business Journal via ASCE SmartBrief. Image: www.bizjournals.com/]
Green energy from cheese? That's right, whey is not just for Miss Muffett I guess. In 2011, Foundation Service Corporation, the licensed installer of GeoPier GP3™ systems in Wisconsin installed over 1,600 GeoPier elements to stiffen the poor subgrade soils at a GreenWhey Energy plant under construction in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin.
Upon completion this summer, the plant will take byproducts from cheese production and use it to create biogas, heat and clean water. According to GreenWhey the biogas will eventually generate enough electricity to power 3,000 homes. Renewable energy from cheese.
California motorists can now avoid a dangerous and landslide-prone stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, Devil’s Slide, through the tunnel bypass. This project has been a fascination of mine since the early days of GeoPrac. It’s fun to see it finally complete!
A study by CH2M Hill commissioned by the Municipality of Anchorage found that the partially constructed open-cell sheet pile system is "not adequately designed to meet global stability and seismic displacements based on the design criteria." The results of the $2.2M study by CH2M Hill are documented in two reports and the findings were presented to a March 8 Anchorage Assembly meeting. The Municipality will now hire a third party to review the reports and CH2M Hill's recommendations for how to complete the project. The new design could cost up to $600M to construct. The Municipality took the project over in 2011 from the U.S. Maritime Administration after damage to some sheet piling was encountered. [Source: Alaska Journal of Commerce via ASCE SmartBrief. Image: Andrew Jensen/AJOC]
TenCate geosynthetics was a textile technology company in 1953 when disastrous flooding struck the Netherlands. The company came up with some of the first applications of geosynthetics that allowed the creation of the Oostershelde Flood Barrier, a massive dam supported by 66 concrete pillars, each of which is roughly 40 meters high. TenCate is celebrating the 60 year anniversary of this achievement and Geosynthetica has an infographic showing more about the Dutch Delta Works flood control project and TenCate's role. [Source: geosynthetica.net. Image: Architecture.about.com]
Members of an Italian herritage association claim that tunneling 50 meters below the streets of Rome would put the Roman Colosseum at risk of collapsing. Here is an excerpt from the article I found:
"The Colosseum is at risk," heritage association Italia Nostra said in a statement. "Nobody at the moment can guarantee that the Colosseum's foundations will not be affected by the deep excavation of land just dozens of meters away from the monument," it added.
This is certainly an interesting problem, but as a geotechnical engineer, I'm not so sure that it would be impossible. Certainly any tunneling or excavation would require monitoring and perhaps more active measures to ensure that nothing happens to the Colosseum, but it seems like this is more of a political statement than a technical one. [Source: IOL.co.za. Image: Wikipedia, Jean-Pol GRANDMONT]