Strabag’s Swedish subsidiary Züblin Scandinavia has won a €127M contract from the Swedish Maritime Administration to build a new lock and enlarge the Södertälje Canal in Sweden.
An Astaldi-led joint venture has been awarded a €1bn contract to build the Italian stretch of the Brenner Railway Tunnel. The JV will be responsible for all underground works of the railway section from Mezzaselva, Fortezza, to the Italian border with Austria. The main works will involve the completion of the exploration tunnel and the two main line tunnels — 23km to be dug using traditional methods and 46km to be dug using mechanised excavation with TBMs. This contract, which ratifies the start-up of works, follows a preliminary contract awarding in March 2016. Astaldi Group CEO Filippo Stinellis said: “We are proud to be able to contribute to one of the most important works under construction in Europe to date. The Brenner Tunnel, once completed, will be the longest underground railway in the world. “The project is a great opportunity for us and for Italy, for the employment levels it will guarantee during its construction, but also because it is a pioneering work of engineering that, once completed, will significantly enhance passenger and freight transport through the heart of Europe.” Construction work in this section is expected to be complete within seven years, with the tunnel to become operational by 2025.The €8.8bn Brenner Base Tunnel will be a new 64km-long railway link between Italy and Austria — forming part of the Helsinki-La Valletta Corridor 5.
The UK’s Department of Transport has given development consent to the construction of a smart motorway between Hayes, London, and Theale, Berkshire. The £800M scheme — designed by a CH2M and Arcadis joint venture and to be delivered by a Balfour Beatty and Vinci joint venture — will upgrade a 51.5km section of the M4 between junctions 3 and 12.The project will include the replacement of 11 over-bridges and the widening of five underbridges. It will also include a four-lane carriageway between junctions 3 and 4 and junctions 5 and 12, a five-lane carriageway between junctions 4 and 4b, 32 emergency refuge areas (ERAs), as well as the accommodation of slip roads where there is no existing hard shoulder. The development is part of the £1.5bn government investment to build ten smart motorways in England until 2021.
Work has started on the Mersey Gateway’s main bridge deck, with two bridge building machines launched in the Mersey Estuary in Liverpool, UK.The form traveller machines have moved apart for the first time at the construction site’s south pylon, enabling the construction of the 1,000m-long, £1.75bn six-lane toll bridge deck across the River Mersey — to connect Runcorn and Widnes.The 270t machines — which act as concrete moulds — were assembled at the south pylon earlier this year before being lifted to their starting position at around 25m above the riverbed. Construction teams then cast a pier table — a rectangular shaped platform — around the bridge pylon before preparing to start work on the main bridge deck. Kyuyoung Choi, Merseylink’s operations manager for the main crossing, said of the building process: “Each segment of the bridge deck is made in the same way. Reinforced steel is placed into the mould and we then pour around 130cb m of concrete inside to create each segment.“From the third segment onwards, we install the connection boxes, which are called ‘delta frames’, for the steel stay cables, which are then attached to the upper pylon. The form travellers, which are powered by a hydraulic system, then move forward on a set of rails to the next position and the process is repeated.“The deck segments are cast simultaneously, which allows the bridge deck to ‘grow’ from either side of the pylons until it meets the connecting bridge deck and the structure is complete.”Three pairs of form travellers will be used to build the deck and each pair will operate as a unit — the machines will be launched from the north pylon later this month and from the central pylon in October.They will precast 154 deck segments — each being around 33m wide, 6m long, and taking a week to construct. Cllr Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “The three bridge pylons under construction are already giving us a glimpse of a much anticipated view of what will be become a landmark structure in our borough and indeed across the north west.“The launch of the form traveller marks the next, thrilling stage of the project and I’m excited to see the bridge deck emerging across the river.”Work on the bridge deck is expected to finish in summer 2017 with the new bridge opening in autumn 2017.
Construction is set to start on the new A487 bypass project in North Wales in the second half of 2017.Balfour Beatty and Jones Brothers (Ruthin) have been selected as the design and build contractors for the £90M project, with construction work due to commence following a public inquiry.The 9.8km carriageway will stretch from Caernarfon to Bontnewydd, with work involving the construction of 22 structures including culverts and seven bridges.The project — previously delayed due to wildlife concerns — has now progressed with the Welsh government issuing draft orders, and allowing individuals and organisations to submit objections to the route.The project is currently anticipated to be complete in late 2019.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved €100M in financing to support the second phase of the West Metro extension in Espoo, Finland.The funding for the second phase of the extension follows a previous €450M loan provided in 2011 for the first phase of the West Metro, which will enter into service in early 2017.The 7km extended track will add five stations to the line between Matinkylä and Kivenlahti in Espoo.EIB’s president Werner Hoyer said: “Operations like this show that the benefits of the EIB’s operations are quite tangible on the ground.“The mission of the EU Bank is to improve people’s lives through the transactions it performs; I think that helping to improve local public transport is a very good way of doing that. If citizens can travel faster and more comfortably, that improves their lives, even if they don’t always realise it.”Espoo mayor Jukka Mäkelä said: “The West Metro extension in Espoo is not only an investment in public transport but also an investment for the whole area. The West Metro’s growth and development corridor links up the southern part of the city and connects the whole area to the metropolitan area of Helsinki.”
The Third Bosphorus Bridge in Turkey has opened to traffic.The hybrid cable-stayed bridge is part of the $5bn Northern Marmara Highway project that will link the cities of Odayeri and Paşaköy. The $3bn bridge — built in less than three years by IC Ictas and Astaldi consortium — holds the following records: • The only suspension bridge in the world with a deck that includes eight lanes for motorway and two railway lines at the same level; • The widest suspension bridge in the world at 59m; • The tallest A-shaped towers in the world at 322m — taller than the Eiffel tower; • The longest suspension bridge in the world with a deck that features a railway line. Paolo Astaldi, chairman of Astaldi Group, said: “The Third Bosphorus Bridge is a bridge of firsts that brings the industry of professional engineering to new heights. “Astaldi is proud to have played a leading role in this ground-breaking project that demanded the very best in engineering skill and advanced technology.“The bridge will not only bring new growth to the region and alleviate traffic pressure within Istanbul, but it will also create a new important link between Europe and Asia.”Construction work on the remaining sections of the motorway is underway.
Skanska has secured an €197M order from Slovakia’s National Highway Authority, NDS, to extend the D1 highway in eastern Slovakia.The scope of the contract will include the construction of a 14.4km section between Budimír and Bidovce, including an additional 1.1km of express road (R2/R4). The section will include 23 bridges, four overpasses, and noise barriers.Construction on the project — funded by the European Regional Development Fund, OP Integrated Infrastructure 2014-20 and the state budget — is set to commence in November 2016 and is scheduled to be complete in December 2019.
Construction firm BAM has been awarded a €90M ($101.4M) contract by Dutch rail network operator ProRail to revamp the Driebergen-Zeist station area in the Netherlands. The project will involve the construction of an underpass under the tracks and the adjustment of the local road network. BAM will refurbish the rail infrastructure by building two additional tracks. It will also construct a new bus station and underground bicycle parking. The new bus station is targeted to be energy neutral by implementing energy-efficient systems and the installation of solar panels on the platform roofs.Construction work will begin in early 2017.
Transport for London (TfL) is seeking a contractor to construct the Barking Riverside extension in London, UK.The 4.5km extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking line will deliver London Overground services to a new station at the heart of the Barking Riverside community. Developer Barking Riverside, a joint venture between the GLA and London & Quadrant, is proving £172M in financing for the £263M project, with the remainder being provided by TfL.TfL's London Overground director Mike Stubbs said: "This vital new railway will open up the Barking Riverside area, supporting up to 10,800 new homes, along with new jobs and improved facilities for the local community."The London Overground network has helped regenerate other parts of London by providing a frequent, reliable and high standard rail services, and this rail extension will help Barking riverside to grow and develop."Construction on the project will commence in late 2017 with train services commencing in 2021.
Construction work on the Glasgow Queen Street tunnel in Scotland has been completed.The £60M project included the renewal of 1,800m of concrete slab track and installation of over 4,000m of new rails.It also involved the extension and alteration of station platforms and track layouts within Queen Street.The tunnel and station have also been prepared for the electrification of the main Glasgow-Edinburgh line, which is anticipated in 2017.Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “I am pleased to see the work on the Queen Street tunnel completed ahead of schedule and on-budget. This has been an unprecedented project, both in engineering terms and in the scale of the operation required to keep people moving and services diverted via the underground platforms during the works. “This is a key milestone in our programme of investment for Scotland’s railways and literally paves the way for the introduction of a new generation of electric trains.”ScotRail Alliance’s managing director Phil Verster said: “The successful, early delivery of this project will allow us to introduce faster, longer and greener trains on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line — delivering thousands of extra seats, shorter journey times and improved accessibility for customers.”In the coming three years, works will continue within Glasgow’s Queen Street with the extension of the station out towards George Square and the creation of new concourse and passenger facilities.
London City Airport has secured a planning consent for a £344M expansion project that will enable the airport to welcome 6.5M passengers by 2025.The project includes construction of seven new aircraft stands, a parallel taxiway and passenger terminal extension.It is believed that the expansion project will allow the airport to welcome quieter, next-generation aircraft and add more capacity. The airport will also be able to add about 32,000 extra flights by 2025, and the expansion will open up opportunities for airlines to serve longer-haul destinations including the Middle East, Turkey, Russia and the east coast of the US.London City Airport’s CEO Declan Collier said: “Expansion at London City Airport will create more than 2,000 new jobs in East London, add much-needed aviation capacity in the South East, and generate an additional £750M per year for the UK economy. I welcome the decision and look forward to delivering new airport capacity for the South East by 2019.”The project will create 500 construction jobs and 1,600 jobs upon completion.
London’s Gatwick Airport has chosen 17 construction and engineering companies for the next stage of its £2.5bn transformation. The appointment follows the visit of the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to the airport to support a second runway. The next stage of its transformation include building, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering works for low-complexity projects up to £1.5M and for medium-complexity projects between £1M-£10M.Gatwick’s development director Raymond Melee said: “These contractors will help to deliver the next phase of Gatwick’s transformation, which has already seen £1.3bn of investment since independent ownership in 2009.“Gatwick is growing fast with more than 41M passengers a year now travelling through the world’s busiest single-runway airport — a decade ahead of industry predictions. As we rapidly approach full capacity Gatwick stands ready to deliver a second runway.”The 17 contractors chosen for the development are Vinci, Galliford Ty, Balfour Beatty, Volker Fitzpatrick, Interserve, Harvey Group, Murphy, Kier, Wates, Marco, Dyer & Butler, Colas, BAM Nuttall, Raymond Brown, Gratte Bros, SSE Contracting and Ergro.
Highways England has announced that work on Lancashire County Council’s £124M Heysham Link project is nearing completion.The new road will link Heysham with junction 34 of the M6, and will be officially named the Bay Gateway later this year.The new slip road onto the northbound M6 is now being built. For that, the existing access south of the River Lune will be closed for 10 days, starting 22 July 2016, Highways England announced.Highways England project manager Paul Elliott said: “Although Heysham Link is a county council project along the local road network, its connection to the M6 is delivering significant improvements at junction 34 of the motorway with better entry and exit slip roads.“The closure of the existing northbound entry slip road to complete these improvements is part of that.”The road project started in January 2014 and is scheduled to be complete in October.
UK-based architectural firm Grimshaw Architects has been selected by Heathrow Airport to design the concept for the £16bn Heathrow’s expansion project.Grimshaw was chosen from a shortlist of four of the UK-based architects, which included Zaha Hadid, HOK and Benoy.This selection follows the announcement of Arup, CH2M, MACE and Turner & Townsend as programme client partners for the project in March 2016.Heathrow’s head of design Barry Weekes said: “We look forward to working with Grimshaw to develop their bold ideas so that once the government approves the Heathrow expansion, we can create a world-class sustainable hub airport which delivers for our passengers, our airlines and also helps to integrate Heathrow with our local communities.“With the Concept Architect and Programme Client Partners now in place, we are now ready to begin the process of expansion once the government makes the right choice for the whole of Britain.”
Russian Railways (RZD) international subsidiary RZD International and JSC Infrastructure Railways of Serbia have signed a $338M contract for construction and rehabilitation of the Stara Pazova—Novi Sad section of the Belgrade—Budapest rail line.Under the contract, RZD International will build a 3km-long double track viaduct and a new 2.2km tunnel named Chortanovtsy. Construction of the tunnel and viaduct is expected to cost more than $258M.Furthermore, the company will be responsible for the construction of a centralised traffic control centre.Upon completion, passenger and freight train speeds on the rail section will increase to 200kmph.Construction work is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2017.
Sacyr subsidiary SIS has secured a contract to build and manage the 186km Rome-Latina freeway in Italy.The contract, awarded by Autostrade del Lazio, has a concession period of 43 years. It includes the construction of 100km of freeway and 86km of secondary roads.Estimated to cost €2.8bn, the project represents the final part of Lazio Major Bypass, which includes the Sole, Cisterna-Valmontone, Rome-Latina and Orte-Civitavecchia freeways.It also involves the construction of 78 viaducts and overpasses with a total length of 23.7km, two tunnels, five cut-and-fill tunnels, 17 link roads and three central toll barriers.
A report released by Unesco supports plans for the conversion of the A303 at Stonehenge into a tunnel.In October 2015, the UK received representatives from the Unesco World Heritage Centre to investigate and advise on issues related to the proposed project.The report concluded that the proposed 2.9km dual carriageway tunnel will have a positive impact on the site, even though the organisation is cautious about the possible adverse effects on the historic landscape, including the position and design of tunnel entrances, embankments, entry and exit ramps and the construction work. However, it stated that those issues could be addressed with “good design and construction controls”.Several heritage groups have welcomed the report. Kate Mavor, chief executive of English Heritage, which looks after Stonehenge said: “Provided that it is designed and built in the right way, a tunnel would reunite the wider landscape around the ancient stones, helping people to better understand and enjoy them." Part of the government’s £15bn five-year Road Investment Strategy, the project is expected to improve journey times and the surroundings of the World Heritage site. A £17.5M package of work has already been awarded to an Atkins and Arup joint venture, under the Highways England’s Collaborative Framework (CDF), to develop options to take to public consultation and ultimately a preferred route announcement.The scheme, an integral part of creating an A303 “expressway” connecting London to the Southwest, also includes the dualling of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester and the A358 between the M5 at Taunton and A303 at Southfields. Construction work is set to start by April 2020.
Work to upgrade the Farnworth tunnel as part of a route electrification project called for enlargement works, and led to the procurement of a UK-manufactured TBM. Ian Clarke, writing for the manufacturer, reports.Tunnel Engineering Services (TES) recently provided a specially designed tunnel boring machine (TBM) in support of the Network Rail route electrification project between Manchester and Preston via Bolton which when completed will electrify one of the North West's busiest routes and allow faster trains with more passenger space.As part of the construction works there was a requirement to reconstruct/enlarge the Farnworth Tunnel which is on the line about 4km southeast of Bolton. The reconstruction was required because the original tunnel size wouldn’t allow the installation of the new overhead power lines required by the new trains.As well as the tunnel rebuild, some 1,600m of track through the area also had to be lowered to ensure smooth running of the electrified rail line.ChallengesThe original tunnel was constructed in the mid-1830s and runs over a length of some 270m. The construction comprises a mix of brick and stone lining with stone portals through a mix of ground conditions.Prior to the electrification reconstruction works commencing, over 1,500 ground investigation bores were made to establish what ground types would need to be handled by the tunnelling machine during the excavation operation. After examining the market, TES was approached as the potential TBM manufacturer with a brief to design what ultimately proved to be the largest TBM ever constructed in the UK.The TBM, named Fillie, had to bore a new 270m-long tunnel, removing some 30,000t of material and install 1,940 concrete lining segments to complete the new tunnel. Work started at the site in March 2015 in preparation for the arrival of the TBM.Prior to works starting, construction of the TBM itself was something of a challenge. Having to excavate the original tunnel with its Victorian interlocked solid stone work, brick lining and the surrounding ground meant that the design had to be not only durable to enable the very hard stone work to be removed but also flexible enough to enable excavation unit changes relatively quickly and easily as the ground conditions changed during the tunnel advance.The location and proposed route of the new Farnworth Tunnel was such that it effectively required the removal of pretty much all of the existing tunnel alignment and also required the excavation for the new tunnel to, at times, pass very close to the original smaller diameter Farnworth (running) Tunnel that was built in the early 1830s. Because of these proximities it was decided that a full face TBM would not be appropriate for this drive. After careful consideration of the predicted conditions both for ground and tunnelling works, TES, in co-operation with the team from tunnelling contractor J. Murphy & Sons ultimately designed the 9m outside diameter open face shield, with leading edge 'forepoling' boards for initial ground support at the face, that utilised centrally-mounted twin mining booms that could each carry a roadheader drum cutter and/or a bucket excavator. In the event, despite not having been initially designed for this use, ground conditions meant that booms were also utilised with a combination of hydraulic breaker and bucket depending on the ground type encountered.TES received the first enquiry about a possible tunnelling machine from Murphy in November, 2014. The initial brief was that the machine would need to handle foam concrete, solid stone brick and what was believed to be softer ground types along the tunnel bore route. In barely one month an initial design for the excavator-based TBM was presented and Murphy agreed to proceed, provided the unit was ready to be on site no later than July 2015.In just seven months, by July 2015 TES had completed the design, built and completed testing on the shield section of the tunnelling machine. By the end of July, whilst TES was finalising testing of the segment lining erector in the yard, engineers from Murphy were dismantling the front end of the shield alongside TES engineers for transport to site. The complete unit was ultimately dismantled at the TES yard in just two days. At the Farnworth Tunnel site, in association with TES engineers, Murphy rebuilt the whole machine in just five days. The machine commenced tunnelling immediately on completion of the build.Tunnelling worksWhilst the machine was under construction, from March 2015, Murphy had commenced preparation works with the construction of the launch portal for the TBM and filled the old tunnel from end to end completely with 7,500m3 of foam concrete. This was intended to provide support to the old tunnel and surrounding ground as it was excavated. Despite the more than 1,500 test holes drilled to investigate the ground conditions, the drive actually encountered far more sand than was predicted.The excavation removed all of the old tunnel, upsizing the diameter by some 2 to 3m to 9m o.d. The route ran mostly on the line of the old tunnel which included an existing curve. The new tunnel curve however was not as tight as the old one to allow the new route to handle the newer trains. However, the new tunnel route passed very close to the alignment of the Farnworth (running) Tunnel, passing by with as little as 2m clearance at times.As well as removing the old tunnel, the new route also required the invert of the old tunnel to be excavated because the upsizing of the existing tunnel was confined vertically due to limited ground cover over the drive. However, once the new track is completed the track horizon is not expected to be much lower than the old track.At the start of tunnelling works the excavator booms were fitted with roadheader drum cutters which were used to cut through the old tunnel headwall. The high stone strength caused significant vibrations when cutting which meant that the use of the drum cutters had to be limited. So, once sufficient of the headwall was removed it was decided to exchange the drum cutters for hydraulic pick units or peckers to limit the impact of excavation vibrations on the machine structure. Whilst the original TBM design did not take into account the use of peckers, the interchange was made possible with minor modifications so the tunnelling process could proceed. However ground conditions deteriorated into running sand at times which caused delays as Murphy had to inject ground stabilisation resins ahead of the face.This was also a necessity where the tunnel ran beneath the alignment of the A666 road. As the tunnel passed beneath the road, the surface experienced some anticipated subsidence. However plans had been put into place should this occur and the road was resurfaced back to its original level during an overnight operation with minimal, if any, disruption to this busy traffic route.It proved possible to safely excavate while concurrently installing and grouting sections of the tunnel wall as was originally planned. At one other point in the excavation a running sand inrush occurred with some 100t of sand burying the machine face. This caused a further delay as the site had to be open cut using a shaft to re-stabilise the ground over the TBM face. However the remedial works worked very well and despite the ground problems the TBM completed the new 270m tunnel on 30 October 2015.
London’s Crossrail project not only now has an official name — it was revealed the the cross-city rail system will be called the Elizabeth line — it is also less than a year away from the start of the first testing phase.It was a year ago that tunnelling was completed — using two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) called Victoria and Elizabeth, continuing with the regal theme.That followed three years of tunnelling that started in May 2012, and now, four years on, the project is approaching 75% complete, says Crossrail project manager Nisrine Chartouny.The first services will start in May 2017 with trains running from Shenfield to Liverpool Street. The tunnels below the capital and ten new stations in central London will open in December 2018 and the line will open fully in December 2019, when it will connect Reading and Heathrow in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.It’s the largest transport project in Europe, and will add around 10% to the capacity of London’s rail network, serving 40 stations — ten of which are new for the project. An estimated 200M passengers will ride the line each year.