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Best of the Best over 20 years - Civil Engineering

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The Channel Tunnel was given a Special BCI Award for an Outstanding Feat of Civil Engineering in 1994. The project was the realisation of a 200-year-old dream to connect England and France, and has been described as ‘the civil-engineering project of the century’.

The 63-month Anglo-French construction project included a 50km triple-bore tunnel, 39km of which is undersea – making it the longest undersea tunnel in the world.

Tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) worked simultaneously from the French and English sides through a single chalk stratum, at an average of 45m under the sea floor. The TBMs for the 4.8m-diameter service tunnel met in 1990; TBMs for the main tunnels met in 1991.

The tunnelling operation saw 8,000,000m3 of soil excavated at an average of 2,400 tonnes an hour. Much of the excavated soil on the English side was used to reclaim land near Folkestone, which is now a popular park.

The twin 7.6m-diameter running tunnels linking to the 4.8m service tunnel were driven in just over three years under stringent safety criteria.

The construction consortium TransManche Link included UK firms Balfour Beatty, Bouygues, Costain, Taylor Woodrow and Mott MacDonald.

Despite the fact that the project ran 80 per cent over budget with an estimated final cost of around £10 billion, the BCIA judges praised the project team for bringing ‘a dream to reality’.

‘Breathtaking though they are, the statistics alone cannot convey the awesome magnitude of the undertaking or thechallenge of bringing it to fruition. The judges salute all those who played a part in turning the dream into reality,’ they continued.

Operator Eurotunnel has since suffered massive losses on the project, citing a lack of business, high access charges and massive debt, which causes a heavyinterest-payment burden. This has discouraged investors from looking at a second Channel Tunnel.

However, passenger numbers rose steadily to 8.2 million in 2005, and are expectedto increase further as a result of the opening of the High Speed One rail link from St Pancras to Folkestone in
November 2007.

Cardiff Bay Barrage
Major Project Award 2000
High Commendation
Main contractor: Balfour Beatty and Costain joint venture
Principal designer: Gibb
Architect: Alsop & Störmer
Client: Cardiff Bay Development Corporation

Channel Tunnel Rail Link 2002-2006
Major Project Winners: Ashford 2002; Section 1 2004 and King’s Cross Civils Works 2006
Designer: Rail Link Engineering (Bechtel, Arup, Halcrow and Systra)
Contractors: Alfred McAlpine/Amec, Miller Civil Engineering, Balfour Beatty, Mowlem

Jubilee Line Extension
Major Project Special Award 2000
Project architect: Roland Paoletti
Other team members different on different stations

Second Severn Crossing Supreme Award 1996
PFI design, build and operation: John Laing-led consortium Severn River Crossing Plc

Sizewell B Power Station
Civil Engineering Project and Supreme Award 1994
Main contractor: John Laing Construction
Design, fabrication and erection of gas-tight steel inner lining: Cleveland Structural Engineering

Britannia project, Central North Sea
Best Practice Project Award 1999
Clients: Conoco and Chevron
Main contractor: Amec
Drilling contractor: KCA
Fabricator: Kvaerner and Odebrecht

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