The area is approximately 300-m from the Rhine River, and groundwater is very shallow. As noted in another NCE article, the contractor constructed 15 dewatering wells when only 4 were approved. Additionally, the pumping rate being used was 750 m^3/hr, or nearly double the 450 m^3/hr it was pumping in December of 2008. Clearly the groundwater is one component of the failure, but it does not appear that there is sufficient evidence to say exactly what role of the groundwater was or if the shoring walls did in fact fail and lead to the collapse of the Cologne historical archives and the deaths of two people.
On September 17, CALTRANS and Kiewit Pacific held a "tunnel excavation celebration" to kick off the start of tunnel construction on The Devil’s Slide Tunnels project on California State Route 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway) in San Mateo County between the town of Montara to the south and the city of Pacifica to the north. The project involves the creation of a separated two-lane road, one lane in each direction. This road will pass through twin tunnels, over twin bridges and connect with an existing non-separated two-lane road at each end. The new road will be approximately 6,500 feet long, made up of the roughly 4,000-foot twin tunnels, the 1,500-foot north approach road (which includes the 1000-foot parallel bridges), and the 1,000-foot south approach road. Upon completion, the new road will bypass geologically unstable portions of existing Route 1, sections of roadway subject to lengthy closures, high maintenance costs over the years, and risk of permanent failure. Thanks Geology.com for the heads up. [Read on for more background, photos, maps, and movies!] (Images by CALTRANS)
The US House of Representatives passed legislation approving a national tunnel inspection program. This of course came about as a result of a fatal accident from 2006 in a tunnel on Boston’s Big Dig project where a concrete ceiling tile fell on a car killing one person. More after the break.