Winners of the 2016 series of ITA Awards 14 Nov 2016

ITA News Release

After a one-day technical conference dealing with innovation and productivity in tunnelling, followed by a one-day awards conference, the judges of the 2016 series of the ITA Tunnelling Awards revealed their choices and awarded recognition to eight outstanding projects and announced the Young Tunneller of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr Martin Herrenknecht. After a detailed examination process, 100 nominations for the nine Award categories were reduced to 30 finalists who had the opportunity to present and support their projects during the awards conference and to an audience of their peers.

The categories, the shortlisted projects and the winners are:

Major Project of the Year exceeding €500 million


  • Klang Valley MRT tunnelling works, Malaysia
  • Singapore Cross-Island cable tunnel project, Singapore
  • Central–Wan Chai Bypass, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Winner: The new Guanjiao Tunnel of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway, China

The project is a key element of the second line of the Xining-Golmud section of the Qinghai-Tibet railway with a total length of 33km. The drill+blast twin tube tunnel lies at an average elevation of 3,400m and operates electrified freight and passenger trains with a design speed of 160km/hr. Construction began in November 2007 and the tunnel opened for operation in December 2014.The total investment was 4.96 billion RMB or $US730 million.

Tunnelling Project of the Year from €50 million to €500 million


  • Venda Nova III Repowering Project, Portugal
  • Shenzhen Metro Line 9, China

Winner: Downtown Line 3, Fort Canning station and tunnels, Singapore

As Singapore’s underground space becomes more congested, the construction of new underground metro lines has become more challenging, complex and now pushing the boundaries of engineering. The Fort Canning station and tunnels metro project encountered many challenges including cutterhead interventions to remove foundations of buildings and close proximity to national monuments and in-service metro lines with only 1m separation. Excavation so close to operating tunnels, which carry thousands of commuters daily, poses exceptional risk. The project has since been completed successfully with no disruption to any community partners.

Outstanding Project of the Year of up to €50 million


  • Xinzhuang Station–Jimingsi station tunnel, Nanjing Metro Line 3, China
  • The Stiberg Garage, Sweden
  • Shenzhen urban rail transit Line 9 tunnel, China

Winner: Chongqing Hongqihegou Metro Station, China

The Hongqihegou interchange metro station links Line 3 and Line 6 of the Chongqing Metro. It is excavated in moderately weathered sandstone and sandy mudstone beneath a densely developed area of the city and under the main road to the airport. The minimum overburden is 8.6m and the ratio of overburden to span is 0.4. Its maximum excavation section is 760m. The whole tunnel section is divided into four drifts. Two are on the top and another two in the bottom to be excavated. In this way, four drifts can be driven simultaneously. By using the inherent bearing capacity of inner rocks supporting, the horizontal and vertical temporary support of the tunnel is saved. Moreover, the “time-space” effect is controlled precisely for the safety of the force transmitting between primary support and final lining.

Renovation/Upgrade Project of the Year


  • Ecomint/Tectoproof CA–Rive de Gier Tunnel, France
  • ION Orchard Link, upgrade of Orchard MRT and Tang Plaza, Singapore

Winner: Vauxhall Station Upgrade, London, UK

The reference design for the step free upgrade of Vauxhall Station on the London Underground was changed to an SCL design to provide a more efficient construction program, reduce ground movements and a total cost savings of nearly €12 million. A more economical reinforced concrete collar was designed, rather than traditional steel lintel beams installed to support new openings in the existing platform tunnels with steel props. These eliminated health and safety risks associated with the installation of heavy steel framing and encroachment onto platform clearance. The project has successfully increased existing station capacity without fundamentally altering the operational station. Value added was in the elimination of utility relocations, which cut the construction duration by at least six months. Early third-party engagement efforts led to a smooth approvals process during the design and construction phases.

Technical Innovation of the Year


  • SCL waterproofed with bonded membranes, Norway
  • Uphill excavator, UK
  • Auto inspection vehicle for NSEW cable tunnel, Singapore
  • Sandvik GeoSure on-board rock mass analysis system, Finland

Winner: Large diameter shield tunnelling in pure sands with a hybrid EPBM, Brazil

The 5.2km long metro Line 4 in Rio de Janeiro was excavated using an 11.51m diameter hybrid EPB shield through complex geology that included a long stretch of pure sand bounded by two stretches of hard, highly abrasive rock. Considerable reduction in conditioning materials and energy consumption was achieved with this hybrid EPB technology.

Environmental Initiative of the Year


  • Underground waste deposit concept, Boliden Odda, Norway
  • Stendafjellet rock quarry and underground waste disposal site, Norway

Winner: The Emscher Project – Back to nature, Germany

The Emschergenossenschaft in Essen is currently progressing one of the largest environmental projects in the world to effectively restructure of a whole river system. This system has been used as an open wastewater transport system for more than 100 years as a consequence of extensive coal mining activities. After 2020 the whole River Emscher with a total catchment of 865km2 will be transporting clean water again. To reach this target, it will be necessary to build a large 51km long, underground sewer from Dortmund to Dinslaken, through a densely populated conurbation. This central Emscher sewer will have diameters varying between 1,600mm and 2,800mm at depths between 25m and 40m. Shafts will be constructed at up to 1,200m intervals. Construction of he largest Lot 30 section of the Emscher interceptor was awarded in early 2012 and requires excavation of about 47km of pipejacking sewer tunnels. Tunnelling was successfully completed in October 2015, ensuring that upon project completion, the whole River Emscher will be free of wastewater and can be returned to its natural state with ecologically redesigned rivers and new recreational areas.

Safety Initiative of the Year


  • TunnelSAFE multi service vehicle refuge chamber, Australia
  • Total safety management framework, Singapore

Winner: Activity-based safety improvement initiative, Singapore

The initiative was introduced on the cable tunnel project to provide a systematic approach to addressing safety issues in various critical tunnelling activities. The project involves construction of 35km of tunnels at 60m deep on average to house 400kV and 230kV transmission cables. The safety initiative is a platform where work activities are captured by video. By viewing the video footage of themselves carrying out the works, the workers, without any language barriers, are able to witness the safety lapses they subject themselves to, as well as the good practices they achieve and can adopt.

Innovative Use of Underground Space


  • Underground waste depositing at Boliden Odda, Norway
  • Stendafjellet rock quarry and underground waste disposal site, Norway

Winner: Jurong rock caverns, Singapore

The Jurong rock caverns are Southeast Asia’s first storage caverns for liquid hydrocarbons such as crude oil and condensate. Located 150m deep, the caverns saved up to 60 hectares of surface land, ensuring safety and security of the products in storage and reinforcing Singapore’s position as a leading energy and chemicals hub. With its successful completion, Singapore is well positioned to explore more innovative solutions to further promote Singapore’s economic growth.

Young Tunneller of the Year


  • Marlisio Oliveira Cecilio Junior, Brazil
  • Mehdi Bakhshi, USA
  • Oh Jinnie, Singapore
  • Jiang Chao, China
  • G.T. Senthilnath, Singapore

Winner: Derek Eng, Malaysia

Derek Eng studied civil engineering and trained professionally in the field of tunneling. He works currently as an Assistant Manager in the tunnel department for MMC GAMUDA KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd., a notable Malaysian based company and the main contractor for the underground stations and tunnel constructions for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit project in Kuala Lumput. In addition to the practicalities of tunneling, Eng also focuses on providing professional training related to tunnelling and inspiring young school leavers to take up engineering as a career of choice.

Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr Martin Herrenknecht for his remarkable contributions in tunneling through his career and his ownership and founding of the Herrenknecht TBM and excavation equipment company.

Nominations for the 2017 series of the ITA Awards will open early next year and entry forms for online submissions for each of the nine award categories will be available on the ITA Awards website. The trophy presentation banquet to the winners of 2017 Awards will be hosted during the 15th International Congress being organised by AFTES, the French Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, and held at the Palais des Congrès convention centre, at Porte Maillot, Paris, from 13-16 November 2017.


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