ITA success at Vancouver
ITA success at Vancouver Jun 2010
Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
Vancouver, Canada, gave a warm welcome to the more than 900 delegates that convened in the 2010 Winter Olympic city in May to participate in the 36th General Assembly and World Tunnel Congress of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA).

Members of the new ITA Executive Council at the Vancouver WTC in May

It was a busy General Asssembly for the national representatives of the 55 member nations of the Association. Professor In-Mo Lee of Korea was elected as the President for the coming three years to 2013, taking over from the successful previous three-year Presidency of Martin Knights of the UK who remains on the Executive Committee as the Immediate Past President.
Four new Vice Presidents were also elected - Markus Thewes (Germany), Bai Yun (China), Soren Degn Eskensen (Denmark), and Ivan Hrdina (Czech Republic) - and five new members were elected to the Executive Council - Rick Lovat (Canada), Amanda Elioff (USA), Pal Kocsonya (Hungary), Ow Chun Nam (Singapore) and Daniele Peila (Italy). Three new member nations were also welcomed to the ITA family - Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro.

Speaking up for the Working Groups

The activity and productivity of the ITA Working Groups was a major focus of attention at this General Assembly. Initiated by President Knights in response to criticisms in the media of Working Group inactivity and lack of direction, former ITA President Alfred Haack was engaged to review the processes of the Working Groups and prepare a report with the objective of improving the productivity and activity of the Groups.
There are 13 active Working Groups and another seven that have completed their work. At this 2010 General Assembly the Working Group on Seismic Effects was revived at the request of the Chinese member nation delegation and following several high impact earthquakes over recent months and years in China and elsewhere.
The work of the Working Groups is often misunderstood, difficult to organize and progress, their efforts are often frustrated, and their results frequently difficult to quantify and access. The Animateurs of three Working Groups sat with TunnelCast, the video reporting division of TunnelTalk, to explain the organization and operation of the Working Groups and how their reports and documents of study are published and accessed.
The ITA-AITES Working Groups - current and clompleted
WG 1: Standardization - Set up 1975 - Completed 1998.
WG 2: Research - on different subjects such as site investigations, monitoring and control of underground works and risk management.
WG 3: Contractual Practices - working on a series of I contractual pronouncements addressing the most serious issues in underground construction and the appropriate responses contractually.
WG 4: Subsurface Planning - Set up 1975 Completed 2002
WG 5: Health and Safety in Underground Works - aiming to provide guidelines for a better safety during tunnelling works
WG 6: Maintenance and Repair - working on Guidelines for Fire Resistance for Metro tunnels.
WG 7: General Approaches to Design - Set up 1978 Completed 1996.
WG 8: Catalog of Tunnels - Set up 1978 Completed 1991.
WG 9: Seismic Effects - Set up in 1979 Completed in 1985 Set to be reinstated
WG 10: Costs and Advantages of Urban Public Transport - Set up1982 Completed 1988.
WG 11: Immersed and Floating Tunnels - implementing a searchable database of immersed tunnels worldwide.
WG 12: Sprayed concrete use - working on Guidelines for nozzleman certification; sprayable mortars for fire protection, and test programme on evaluation on fibre-reinforced shotcrete.
WG 13: Direct and indirect Advantages of Underground Structures - Set up 1989 Completed 2002.
WG 14: Mechanized Tunnelling - studying risk management and insurances of TBM tunnelling, training courses, and on demonstration of benefits of mechanized tunnelling.
WG 15: Underground and Environment - longterm goal to prepare guidelines and recommendations on environmental aspects related to underground facilities.
WG 16: Quality - Set up 1997 Completed its work in 2007.
WG 17: Long Tunnels at Great Depth - preparing a report on long hydraulic tunnels at great depth.
WG 18: Training - aiming to produce training and educational material on tunnelling and underground space use.
WG 19: Conventional Tunnelling - preparing a guideline on monitoring in conventional tunnelling and a report on special aspects in construction contracts in conventional tunnelling.
WG 20: Urban Problems, Underground Solutions - to create an overview of the typical challenges of urban city planning and the solutions that are offered by the underground space.
The suggestion of a new working group on Lessons Learned, submitted by the British Tunnelling Society (BTS), was withdrawn. The alternative was to have each Working Group include data about lessons learned in their different reports and publications.
As well as the Working Groups, the ITA also hosts the activities of three committees and supports a foundation:
• ITA-COSUF - Committee on Operational Safety of Underground Facilities
• ITA-CUS - Committee on Underground Space
• ITA-CET - Committee on Education and Training, the ITA University network
• Foundation for Education and Training in the field of Tunnelling and Underground Space.
The ITA-CET Committee conducted a two-day training course on Friday and Saturday May 14 and 15. The course was attended by 205 delegates from 32 countries and featured special sessions on rock mechanics. At its meetings during the WTC and General Assembly, the ITA-CET committee and Foundation sanctioned six new courses for the coming year. These include a training session on the planning design and construction of tmmersed tube tunnels to be held in Abu Dabi in October 2010 and others on Planning, Construction and Operation of Common Utility Tunnels; Innovations in Tunnelling; Monitoring and Control in Tunnelling; Principles for Tunnel Design; and Underground Space Use for different venues around the world at at different times.
More details about the activities of the Committees and the Foundation are available at their websites at ITA-COSUF, ITA-CUS, ITA-CET, ITACET. Plans were also outlined at this General Assembly for the formation of an ITA Technology Group. Specific details of the Group's composition and objectives are to be presented ahead of confirmation of its creation at the General Assembly next year in Helsinki, Finland.
It was a busy time in Vancouver also for the staff and management of TunnelTalk. We were the official webmedia partner for the promotion the World Tunnel Congress and operated a service to video record different sessions and presentations. Some 129 papers were presented during the World Tunnel Congress technical sessions and a further 159 poster presentations were on display. The ITA Open Session on Tuesday morning (May 18), discussed the topic 'Ground reference information for biffing tunnel projects - current practice, shortcomings/benefits and future challenges'. Martin Knights chaired the session and presentations were given by Joe Gildner of Seattle Sound Transit, presenting a client's point of view, Marco Giorelli of Lovat Inc, presenting the experiences by the TBM manufacturer of ground reference requirements
for EPBs, Ulrich Wadepohl of Hochtief gave the international experience of a contractors point of view, Markus Thewes of Ruhr-University Bochum explained the requirements concerning geotechnical investigation for the minimization of risks in shield tunnelling, and Arnold Dix, Animateur of Worlding Group 3, discussed the role of law in the apportionment of underground construction risks. On Monday, May 17, the keynote presentations were delivered by Jeff Hewitt of AECOM recarding the construction of Vancouver's Canada Line Transit Project and Susan Reed Tanaka of the Toronto Transit Commission explained tunnelling plans for transit expansion in the Toronto area.
We video recorded the Opening Ceremony, the presentations of the Open Session, the Muir Wood Lecture by Professor Einar Broch, and several technical session presentations, including Sessions 1B, 1C, 2A and 2B on Monday, May 17, Sessions 3A and 3B on Tuesday, May 18, and Sessions 4A and 7A on Wednesday, May 18. Let us know by e-mail to if you are interested to know more about the availability of recorded and edited video packages for purchase.

The next World Tunnel Congress and 37th ITA General Assembly will be held in Helsinki, Finland on May 21-26, 2011. In 2012, Thailand will host the 38th General Assembly and World Tunnel Congress in Bangkok on 18-24 May.
ITA-AITES Current and Past Presidents
1974 - 1977 Sir Alan Muir Wood (†)
1977 - 1980 H. C. Fischer (†)
1980 - 1983 Günter Girnau
1983 - 1986 Jack Lemley
1986 - 1989 Einar Broch
1989 - 1992 Colin Kirkland (†)
1992 - 1995 Dan Zdenek Eisenstein (†)
1995 - 1998 Sebastiano Pelizza
1998 - 2001 Alfred Haack
2001 - 2004 Andre Assis
2004 - 2007 Harvey Parker
2007 - 2010 Martin Knights
2010 - 2013 In-Mo Lee
At the Vancouver meeting, the invitation from Switzerland to hold the 39th General Assembly and World Tunnel Congress in Geneva was accepted 26 votes to 22 for a strong invitation presentation from the tunnelling association of Greece for an event in Athens.
In closing the event on Wednesday afternoon, out-going ITA President Martin Knights thanked everyone for their support over the past three years of his presidency and welcomed everyone to the WTC and 37th General Assembly in Helsinki in Finland next year in May.
ITA 2010 President and Executive Council elections - TunnelCast, May 2010
2010 World Tunnel Congress report - TunnelCast, May 2010
ITA website

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