Honours for an international tunneller 16 Feb 2017

Shani Wallis, Editor, TunnelTalk

In recognition of a life career in the international tunnelling and underground space design, construction and management industry, Hungarian national Gusztav Klados, Gus to friends and colleagues, is presented with the prestigious Károly Széchy Memorial Plaque award which is presented jointly by the Hungarian Chamber of Engineers and its Society of Geotechnicians.

At the presentation on the 10 February 2017 in Great Hall of the Academy of Sciences in Budapest, Klados received the Award for outstanding work or achievements in the tunnelling industry.

Klados with the Award presentations
Klados with the Award presentations

The Memorial Plaque is awarded annually in honour of civil engineering Professor Károly Széchy (1903-1972) who authored The Art of Tunnelling text book. Translated into English and several other languages and published and reprinted many times over, the book was considered the ‘bible’ of tunnellers from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s and still remains relevant in all but the most recent technological developments.

Although normally presented to a national, it is occasionally awarded to an international. Klados, who was born, was educated and lived in Hungary until he started his international career, is recognised for both categories, working most recently in his home country in 2007-10, when he was Project Director for the owner for construction of the new Line 4 of the Budapest Metro.

Having studied for an MSc Degree in Civil Engineering in Budapest, Klados had his first international posting in 1980 to the Kolkata (Calcutta) Metro in India where he assisted Indian contractor Hindustan Construction Co (HCC) as the leader of an Hungarian team of technical advisors for excavation of segmentally lined open face shield-driven running tunnels on section 4/B of the city’s first metro line developments. Technical advice included design and manufacture of precast concrete segments, compressed air work and basic shield tunnelling. He returned Later to work on construction another (1/A) section of the line with a blade shield with AFCONS.

Following this first break, Klados, with his added command of the English language, continued an international career that has taken him to several different countries and to involvement on some of the most important tunnelling projects of their day.

From Kolkata, Klados was recruited as an experienced TBM tunneller to work on the undersea Channel Tunnel railway project that links Britain to France and the continental Europe. He worked with the construction consortium and was Tunnel Manager (Senior Agent) of the Marine Running Tunnel North, which completed a junction with the corresponding TBM heading from France in 1989 after completing 19km of 8.36m excavation diameter segmentally lined tunnelling.

From the Channel Tunnel, it was to South Africa for the next project where Klados worked for Swiss contractor Marti in joint venture with Hochtief of Germany and Concor of South Africa as TBM Tunnelling Manager for the 22km long segmentally lined Delivery Tunnel North on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

The presentation ceremony was held in the Great Hall of the Budapest Academy of Sciences

In a period with German tunnelling contractor Hochtief Klados worked on the Athens Metro and then with German contractor Philipp Holzmann on the DTSS (Deep Tunnel Sewerage System) in Singapore.

Upon the bankruptcy demise of Holzmann in 2002 Klados arrived in Kuala Lumpur to run the tunnelling operations for the construction company Gamuda on the city’s iconic SMART tunnel, underground infrastructure primarily for stormwater management that doubles as a double deck express toll road for the majority of the time when it is not needed for flood control.

Following the Metro Line 4 management for the client back home in Budapest, Klados returned to Malaysia to re-join Gamuda as Project Manager on its joint venture development of the first line of the Klang Valley MRT metro system, managing in particular the central underground section of twin tube running tunnels and deep underground stations. The association with Gamuda continues today in a new role as Director, Tunnels for the MMC-Gamuda JV development of the KVMRT Metro system Line 2.

“I am honoured and proud to receive this award and from my compatriots,” said Klados. “My career in tunnelling has so far lasted 45 years and, despite the occasional difficulties, I have enjoyed nearly all of these years. It is extra special to have the problem solving efforts and dedication recognised by my peers.”


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