Norway prepares a royal WTC welcome 04 May 2017

TunnelTalk reporting

The Norwegian Tunnelling Society (NFF) is preparing to welcome the international delegations to the World Tunnelling Congress to Bergen in early June. The event, to run from 9 to 16 June will also host the 43rd General Assembly of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA – AITES).

Edvard Grieg concert hall venue
Edvard Grieg concert hall venue

The venue for the congress and the ITA meetings is the famous Grieghallen in the middle of the city centre. Registration is now open and tunnellers from across the world are invited to join the congress and share a comprehensive programme of technical sessions, the meetings and assemblies of the ITA organisation, a sold out hall of exhibitors, a series of technical tour site visits to Norwegian tunnelling projects, and the many social events and gatherings that make every annual WTC memorable and enjoyable.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway will be the special guest of honour and he will open the Congress proceeding on Monday the 12th of June. The Crown Prince graduated from the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy in Bergen in 1995 and moved to the USA in 1996 to study for a BA in political science at the University of California at Berkeley. The Crown Prince shares a concern for business and innovation across various fields of business and industry and will welcome all to Norway and the WTC to share experiences and explore topics under the theme of the Congress - Surface Challenges – Underground Solutions. These will include concerns relating to rapid population growth, increased urbanization and the expected impacts of climate change, all of which will require major infrastructure investments and wide use of underground solutions.

HRH Crown Price Haakon will open the proccedings
HRH Crown Price Haakon will open the proccedings

Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. With urban surface space limited, infrastructure must be planned underground and carefully and coherently engineered with sustainability in mind. Such new underground infrastructure must protect critical facilities for oil and gas storage, information technology, transportation and communication links, and civil defence shelters and ensures their operability even should disaster strike. Norway is today a major supplier in the renewable energy network thanks to its high number of hydroelectric power plants. Norway has this expertise in abundance..

Session topics of the 2017 World Tunnel Congress will include:

  • Site investigation and ground characterization
  • Urban tunnelling - planning, design and construction
  • Strategic use of underground space for resilient city growth
  • Utilization of underground for hydropower projects incorporating unlined tunnels and shafts, underwater intakes, air cushion surge chambers
  • Mechanized excavation - hard rock, soft rock and soil
  • Innovations in drill and blast excavation
  • The planning, design and construction of large caverns
  • Underwater strait crossings tunnels for road, railway and utilities
  • Tunnelling for mining purposes
  • Underground waste storage and disposal
  • Innovations in rock support and water proofing technology
  • Operation and maintenance of underground facilities
  • Safety management of complex underground excavations
  • Stability assessment, risk analysis and risk management
  • Seismic design of tunnels and underground excavations
  • Case histories and lessons learned from project experiences

TBMs progressing the Follo Line railway tunnels
TBMs progressing the Follo Line railway tunnels

Technical tours and site visits both before and during the congress will support the sharing experience and topics of the technical sessions.

On Friday 9 June in Oslo, Norway’s national capital city, a visit will take in the start of TBM tunnel of the Follo Line railway tunnel project. Four hard rock shielded Herrenknecht TBMs are excavating the twin tunnels of the 19km underground rail alignment and line the structures with rings of precast concrete segments.

Fig 1. Schematic of the Ulriken water treatment plant
Fig 1. Schematic of the Ulriken water treatment plant

On Monday 12 June, groups will visit the underground Ulriken water treatment plant taking the access tunnels to enter the caverns of the processing plant and the clean water reservoir (Fig 1). The new subsurface processing plant includes a new water pool in rock, at 70m above sea level for storing fully purified drinking water and a new water intake in the Svartediket reservoir.

Fig 2. Shore approach of the pipeline to the Kollsnes gas terminal
Fig 2. Shore approach of the pipeline to the Kollsnes gas terminal

On Thursday 15 June, the tour is to the Kollsnes gas and Sture oil underground terminals in Øygarden municipality to the north-east of Bergen. The plant was set in operation in 1996 as a part of the Troll Project which brings gas in from the Troll, Kvitebjørn and Visund fields in the North Sea. An important element of the civil works at Kollsnes was the shore approach of the pipeline. Work was executed from January 1991 to December 1995 and comprised 7.5km of tunnels to a connection point for the Troll pipelines 3.6km from landside and 200m under sea level (Fig 2).

The contract included engineering and the installation of two 450 tons riser packets into the piercing shafts from the tunnel system at 168.5m below sea level. It is one of the deepest such shaft/tunnel piercing junctions ever executed in the world.

Construction of the Sture oil terminal started in 1984 and the first oil was brought ashore from the Norwegian Continental Shelf in December 1988. This was the first pipeline crossing of the Norwegian Trench down to a water depth of 360m. There are five underground crude oil storage caverns at the terminal, each of 314m long x 19m wide and 33m high and providing a storage capacity of 1 million m3 of oil.

Other visits are to the E39 highway tunnels on the route from Rådal to Os and to the Ulriken TBM railway tunnel project for the new Bergen railway line.

Norway was elected to host the 2017 WTC and ITA General Assembly at the 2014 WTC at Iguassu Falls in Brazil. Three years of planning and preparation are now coming to reality as the world of tunnelling engineers and professionals descend on Bergen for the international conferencing fixture. TunnelTalk will be at the congress and will have a media table in the magazine passage. Find and visit us there and during the sessions and events of the congress.

In 2018, the WTC and ITA General Assembly will be held in Dubai, UAE and in 2019, in Naples, Italy. The host of the 2020 congress will be selected and announced during the ITA General Assembly in Bergen.

We look forward to meeting friends, colleagues and new contacts at the WTC events and ITA meetings in Bergen, Norway!


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