Canada honours underground achievements 20 Oct 2016

TunnelTalk reporting

Canada’s National capital city Ottawa hosted the annual conference of the Tunnelling Association of Canada (TAC) and the banquet for presentation of its 2016 underground achievement awards.

The TAC annual awards recognize individuals for a lifetime of achievement in the underground design and construction field and projects that deliver innovative planning, design and development. The event took place on Monday this week (October 17) at the Shaw Centre located in the heart of downtown Ottawa on the Rideau Canal and next to considerable tunnelling activity for the city's new Confederation Line LRT project. 

The Awards Banquet closed out the first day of the two-day conference that explored the theme Capitalizing on Underground Infrastructure.

For the 2016 Canadian Innovation Project of the Year, the judging panel select the Port Mann Water Supply Tunnel under the Fraser River in Vancouver as the team that contributed significantly to a project in Canada that demonstrated the highest level of engineering skill, insight and understanding of underground construction for the project.

The 1km long, 3.5m o.d. tunnel will house a new water main, which replaces the current smaller, seismic-and-scour-vulnerable buried pipeline that crosses the Fraser River. Tunnelling for the project was completed in June 2015, and final tunnel steel pipe installation and cellular concrete backfill was complete as of November 2015. The tunnel was constructed with an EPBM, and with observed tunnelling pressures of up to 6 bar the crews surmounted the highest pressures recorded to date in Canadian soft ground tunnelling. The project demonstrates Canadian expertise in overcoming many challenging hurdles along the way and paves the way for future high-pressure soft ground tunnelling in the country.

The Canadian Infrastructure Project of the Year for 2016 is the La Romaine 3 hydroelectric scheme headrace tunnel and related excavation works. The complexity of the project lies in the planning of simultaneous excavations at several different locations in the tunnel. The work had to be coordinated across multiple work fronts without compromising productivity or safety. In addition to programming excavation works, the project required supply and operation of a tunnel heating and ventilation system to permit effective progress under arctic weather conditions.

The experience and expertise of the project managers helped to overcome the technical challenges of this project through careful choice of the industry standard means and methods. The performance of the crews and the selected means and methods allowed the contractor to complete the project in 14 months, a month earlier than expected.

For its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016, TAC honours Dr Ray Benson as a respected tunnelling and rock mechanics expert both within Canada and internationally. His career has taken Ray to major hydro projects across the globe and has seen him engaged as a specialist consultant or as a member of boards of review for owners, authorities, engineering companies and international lending institutions. His contribution to the excavation industry in Canada has been tireless and dedicated and included the regional chapters of the Tunnelling Association of Canada when President of the Association.

Education of new tunnelling engineers and professionals is an area that TAC takes seriously, and promotion of the development of talented young engineers is achieved through the annual award to a single student of the Dan Eisenstein Memorial Scholarship. This year’s award is made to Sarah Cain, a young student pursuing a degree in underground construction engineering and a follow-on career in the engaging industry.

Rounding off the awards, the 2016 TAC Photo of the Year was awarded to Scott Marshall of AECON and Tony Dell of SNC-Lavalin for a stunning shot from the gantry crane level of the impressive machine hall cavern excavated for the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project. The shot combines depth of vision, scale of dimension and crisp definition of the details of the immense underground space.

Following the success of the TAC conference and awards series for 2016, and with several new and existing projects in the planning and early construction stages in Canada, the Association and the national tunnelling industry looks forward to receiving nominations for award-winning recognition in 2017.

Add your comment

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and comments. You share in the wider tunnelling community, so please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language professional.
In case of an error submitting Feedback, copy and send the text to
Name :

Date :

Email :

Phone No :

   Security Image Refresh
Enter the security code :
No spaces, case-sensitive