The LA Times is reporting that the California bullet train project may be facing significant budget and schedule issues, largely because of a 13.5-mile tunnel beneath Pacheco Pass east of Gilroy. The article reports that the current budget for the 54-mile segment between Gilroy and Chowchilla is $5.5B, but experts that they interviewed for the story put the cost of the twin-bore tunnel itself at between $5.6 to $14.4B. Geological and geotechnical drilling and testing are currently underway for the tunnel which will be up to 1,000 feet below ground through the challenging Franciscan Complex. Don’t forget about the challenges of a seismically active area and at least one major fault crossing. The designers and engineers for that project are going to have their hands full with that one!
[Updated November 17, 2009] A few new posts from Ontario-geofish [/Updated]
Those with interest in rock mechanics and tunneling might be interested in this project. The Ontario Power Generation (OPG) company is the owner of a $600M (Canadian) construction project to create a third hydro power tunnel under Niagara Falls. Apparently the project is having all kinds of problems with overbreak in some very difficult tunneling conditions which means very slow progress and big $$ overruns. (Photo from niagarafrontier.com)
I’ve been meaning to post something on this project for some time. I admit that my perspective is biased by the viewpoint you can find on the Ontario-geofish blog. I’ve mentioned Harold Asmis before, he’s the owner of the OG blog, and a former OPG employee if I understand correctly. He left OPG for a career doing geophysics and earthquake engineering for the Nuclear Power industry in Canada. I highly recommend his blog, he has great insight into tunneling, earthquakes, siting of nuclear power plants not to mention opinions on all kinds of other things. His writing style is very colorful and entertaining as well.
So, Harold has written a whole series of blog posts on the Niagra Tunnel project, including a 5-part series entitled "The Disaster of the Niagara Tunnel" and a 4-part series called "Niagara Tunnel: doing it Right". He is not directly involved with the project, but his long career with OPG and related disciplines gives him some great insights. I’ve collected a list of some of his blog posts on the Niagara Tunnel project as well as a few other links about the project. Click through for the good stuff.
I was reading the ASCE News, January edition which announced the 5 finalists for the 2010 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) Award and I was struck by the significant geotechnical engineering and geoengineering components of these projects. Read on as I highlight some of things hidden beneath the ground of these remarkable projects. […]