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!
According to ENR, the U.K. government has approved the 7-year, $32-billion London Crossrail Project which will reportedly be Europe’s biggest civil engineering project. It will include 41.5-km of tunnels 6-m in diameter laid out in pairs. The tunnels will pass underneath London and connect surface networks on either side of the city. Link after the break. (Photo by tkosaka)
In keeping with our theme of rising costs on tunnel projects, the Brightwater sewage-treatment plant and treated waste pipeline project in King County Washington (Seattle area) is now up to at least $1.84 billion according to the lead consultant on the project. The treated waste pipeline is 13 to 14-miles long and at depths of 40 to 440-ft! It is being constructed nearly entirely by TBM. One source of delay was due to a tunneling subcontractor not being able to get parts (ball bearings?) because they were all being requisitioned by the US War Department for use in military equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan. Click through for information sources and links.