Tunnellers to meet in Washington DC

Tunnellers to meet in Washington DC 21 Jun 2018

TunnelTalk Reporting

Washington DC, as the seat of Federal decision making for the United States, is the venue for the gathering of international tunnellers at the North American Tunneling Conference (NAT), the premier biennial tunneling event for North America, bringing together the brightest, most resourceful and innovative minds in the tunneling and underground construction industry. Held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park this year from 24-27 June, this four-day conference will focus on the information, advances and projects in North America along with the victories and challenges of working in diverse environments.

NAT 2018 will bring the industry together, with 1,000 attendees, 140 exhibitors and 20 technical sessions. From TBMs to rehabilitation, NAT 2018 will provide detailed case histories of North American and international projects and provide the groundwork for discussion on the futures of tunneling around the world. Contractors, engineers, equipment and materials suppliers and clients in the industry, this is the event to attend with NAT positioned to advance individual professional future and that of the industry. The conference provides access to a technical program focused on challenges, successes and topics of industry development under the session diary and titles of:
Monday, 25 June - 9:30am

  • Technology Track - Project Controls
  • Design Track - Resiliency
  • Planning Track -Risk Management Challenges & Solutions
  • Case Histories Track - Sewer/Water 1
Monday, 25 June - 1:30pm
  • Technology Track - Innovation
  • Design Track - Sequential Excavation Methods
  • Planning Track - Project Delivery -Water & Wastewater
  • Case Histories Track - Transportation 1
Tuesday, 26 June - 8:30am
  • Technology Track - TBM Technology 1
  • Design Track - Rock Tunneling
  • Planning Track - Geotechnical, Environmental & Sustainability
  • Case Histories Track - Sewer/Water 2
Tuesday, 26 June 26 - 1:30pm
  • Technology Track - TBM Technology 2
  • Design Track - Challenging Design Issues
  • Planning Track - Project Delivery - Transit & Highways
  • Case Histories Track - Transportation 2
Wednesday, 27 June - 8:30am
  • Technology Track - Fresh Approach
  • Design Track - Precast Concrete Tunnel Linings
  • Planning Track - Planning for Success: Risk Management & Contracting Strategies
  • Case Histories Track - Sewer/Water 3

In addition, the conference offers a program of short courses, several social events and an exhibit hall with 175 booths.

Christine Merdon
Christine Merdon

For the NAT keynote session on Monday morning, Christine Merdon, Deputy Architect/Chief Operating Officer, Architect of the Capitol implementing the AOC's goals and mission, providing overall organization management to improve performance, and assisting in promoting reform and measure results. Merdon began her Federal career in 1981 as a cooperative education engineering student for the US Navy. After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in 1987 from the University of Maryland in civil engineering, she continued her career with the Navy as a project engineer and project manager. In 1998, she received a Master of Science degree in civil engineering.

Also on Monday, at the UCA welcoming luncheon, speaker Christopher Mossey, Deputy Director, Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, US Dept of Energy will describe his involvement in the largest international DOE project ever hosted on US soil. As a retired and decorated rear admiral with the United States Navy, he has more than three decades of experience leading the design and construction of environmental and facility programs for the Department of the Navy.

Christopher Mossey
Christopher Mossey

Educational Short Courses

NAT Short Courses cover a broad range of topical areas within the tunneling and underground construction industry. The courses are taught by highly regarded industry experts and are designed to meet the continuing education needs of UCA of SME members and other professionals in the industry. They provide concise information in an easily referenced format for study following the onsite course.

The NAT 2018 courses are all on Sunday and are all held at the Wardman Park Marriott as follows:

Design and manufacturing of precast segments

Designed to educate the industry in the design and engineering community, about the technical details and current product advancements/trends with the design and manufacture of precast concrete tunnel segments. This course will help to show that all of the componentry and designs involved in segment production must work together as a single system and not independent parts.

This course is designed for engineers and designers who wish to learn about precast segment design.  This course is geared toward anyone who is interested in learning more about precast segments in general, from design, construction, and installation. It is helpful if registrants have a basic knowledge of precast segments.
Content and Instructors:

  • Design Considerations for EPDM Tunnel Gaskets, Andreas Diener, CTS Cordes
  • Innovations in Connection and Grouting Systems for Precast Segments, Christophe Delus, Optimas
  • Steel Fiber for Precast Tunnel Segments, Bill Geers, Bekaert, Maccaferri
  • Ring Design and Factory Set-Up for Precast Segment Moulds, Stefan Medel, Herrenknecht Formworks
  • Combisegment Corrosion Resistant Lining System, Stefan Medel, Herrenknecht Formworks
  • Annulus Grout – Equipment, Process and Mix Design, Phil Antunes, Simem Underground Solutions
  • Admixtures and Chemicals Used in Precast Segments, Jim Lindsay, BASF
  • ACI Code for Precast Segments – Update, Verya Nasri, AECOM
  • Manufacturing and Construction Considerations in Design, Luis Piek, ARUP
  • Manufacturing of Precast Segmental Lining – Precasters View, Louis Falco, CSI
  • Contractors Perspective of Working With Segments, Mike Krulc, Traylor Bros.
  • Anacostia River Tunnel – Project Overview, Shane Yanagisawa, Lane Construction Corp.
  • Specification Issues That May Impact One-Pass Segmental Lining Manufacturing, Carlo Cattelan, Technopref

Grouting Used in Underground Construction and Tunneling

Presenting an overview of the materials, equipment and the various grouting methods used in association with underground construction and tunneling in soils and rock. Subjects covered will include cements and admixtures, grouting equipment and practices, chemical and cementitious permeation/consolidation grouting, jet grouting, compaction grouting, pre-excavation grouting, backfill and contact grouting and cellular grouts. Ten industry experts will give the lectures on these various grouting subjects and techniques. This course is recommended for contractors, engineers, owners and consultants involved in any aspect of underground design and construction.

  • Overview of the Types of Grouting used in Underground Construction
  • Cements and Admixtures
  • Equipment Used in Grouting
  • Compaction and jet Grouting
  • Cellular Grouts used for Backfilling
  • Permeation and Consolidation Grouting
  • Polyurethane Grouts
  • Acrylate/Acrylamide Grouts
  • Probe Hole Drilling and Pre-excavation Grouting
  • Backfilling Behind Segments


  • Ray Henn, RW Henn LLC
  • Scott Anderson, De Neff/GCP Applied Technologies
  • Phil Antunes, Simem Underground Solutions
  • Britt Babcock, Avanti International
  • Brad Crenshaw, GEC Drilling & Grouting, Inc.
  • Mike Felder, ChemGrout
  • Brian Fulcher, McMillen Jacobs Associates
  • Milton Gomez, Aerix Industries
  • Kenneth Ivanetich, Hayward Baker, Inc.
  • Mark Mudlin, Normet Americas, Inc.

Recommended Contract Practices for Underground Construction Workshop

The UCA is working on a revision to the 2008 Recommended Contract Practices for Underground Construction, edited by W Edgerton, which updated the 1974 Better Contracting for Underground Construction Manual. The updated manual will review emerging trends in contracting practices and recommend best practices for owners and other project participants. The primary focus is still underground construction and will review and build consensus for best practice recommendations, especially those that address industry needs that are new and different since the first edition of the book was published. The workshop is free of charge and promises to be an open forum for exchange of ideas.
Chapter Authors 

  • Bill Edgerton, McMillen Jacobs
  • Karen Kubick, SFPUC 
  • Derek Penrice, Mott MacDonald
  • George Teetes, Schnabel-SWS
  • Rich Redmond, AECOM
  • Scott Shylanski, Gilbane Bldg. Co.
  • Mike Roach, Traylor Bros., Inc.
  • Dave Corkum and Brian Fulcher, McMillen Jacobs
  • Patricia Parker, SFMTA
  • Joe Gildner, Sound Transit; Mike DiPonio, Jay Dee Contractors, Inc.
  • Brian Cooper, Gallagher Construction Services

A highlight of the event will be the presentation of UCA Awards at the banquet and reception on Tuesday evening. The Awards to be presented are:

The UCA of SME Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to Dr Harvey Parker for his contributions to the US and global tunneling industry for more than five decades and for recognition of his initiatives in public awareness of the role of tunneling and underground space in our everyday lives. The outstanding achievements include seeking advances in new methods, materials, and advancing the public understanding and concurrence with the beneficial uses of underground space.

Dr Priscilla Nelson is presented the UCA of SME Outstanding Educator Award for her contribution to the field of tunneling and the education of a new generation of engineers specialized in underground construction and tunneling in the US. In addition, UCA recognizes her initiatives as a role model and inspiration for young female students pursuing advanced degrees in the field of tunneling.

The UCA of SME Outstanding Individual Award is presented to David Klug for his contributions to the tunneling industry and his leadership involvement in UCA of SME.

UCA of SME Project of the Year Award

Complex Northern Boulevard underpass
Complex Northern Boulevard underpass
Women in Tunneling will meet at NAT
Women in Tunneling will meet at NAT

Presented to the Schiavone/Kiewit JV, WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff JV and the NYCMTA Capital Construction division for construction of the Northern Boulevard Crossing. At 85ft below ground level, the Northern Boulevard Crossing was recognized as the most technically challenging aspect of New York City MTA’s East Side Access project.  This highly complex and challenging project was marked by extensive pre-planning, stringent controls, a sophisticated monitoring program, and a cooperative project team effort throughout resulted in problem-free tunnel excavation with no appreciable movement to the overhead structures. 

Other special networking events include:

Owners reception

By invitation only, this event on Sunday is exclusive to Owners and is organised via Matt Preedy of Seattle Sound Transit.

UCA Young Members Networking Event

Held on Monday evening, the event is designed to connect young professionals of 35 years old and under

Women in Tunneling

Lady professionals involved at all levels and sectors of the industry will meet for lunch on Tuesday and all fellow lady professionals and those interested will be welcomed.

The event also inclues a set of field trips and technical tours arranged to discover new innovations, create meaningful dialogue and get inspired with an opportunity of a close look at the project with guidance from project managers.  

Northeast Boundary tunnel segments factory

Norther Boundary tunnel segment factory
Norther Boundary tunnel segment factory

Organised by client DC Water and contractor Lane-Salini Impregilo Joint Venture, the visit is to the concrete tunnel segment factory for the DC Clean Rivers $580 million Northeast Boundary Tunnel.

Comprising 27,000ft of 23ft i.d. soft ground tunnel ranging in depth from 80ft to 160ft. The field will expose visitors to the process followed to manufacture high quality segments designed to operate under severe environmental conditions. The tour will review the preparation of the moulds, concrete batching with fibers and delivery to moulds, the finishing of concrete, the curing of concrete, de-moulding, and the stacking and final finishing of segments, secondary curing, yarding, and testing.

DC Water 250 mgd tunnel dewatering pump station

The trip to the new DC Water 250 mgd tunnel dewatering pumping station and screening devices constructed at the terminus of Blue Plains tunnel will view the coarse screens at the tunnel terminus, the installed pumps and their controls, fine screens, the grit removal process, and the high rates clarifies.

DC water tunnel dewatering pump station
DC water tunnel dewatering pump station

Purple Line Tunnel Project

The Plymouth tunnel constructed under the Purple Line Light Rail PPP project is a single tube, twin-track light rail tunnel of about 1,000ft and being constructed using the SEM by the design-build contractor JV consisting of Fluor, Lane Construction, and Traylor Brothers. Visitors will attend a brief presentation on the specifics of the ground support measures in place for tunnel excavation and means and methods selected by the contractor which will be followed by a tour of the site to get an impression of the site setup and logistics related to SEM tunnel construction.

An enjoyable event has been organised and is certainly in store for all who will attend and TunnelTalk looks forward to meeting friends, colleagues and fellow industry professional. Meet us at our booth 108 in the atrium outside the exhibition all. We look forward to seeing you there.

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