Wednesday 2 December 2020
 
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Top underground construction projects vie for ITA awards

RIYADH, 13 days ago

Some of the most ground-breaking innovations and outstanding projects in the tunnelling and underground space utilisation will come under global spotlight next month at the ITA Tunnelling Awards 2020 being constituted by International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association.
 
This year's event will be held virtually from December 3 to 4. Since 2015, the ITA has been organising this international competition in bid to promote the use of underground space as a solution to sustainable development. 
 
Founded in 1974, ITA operates out of Geneva, Switzerland, and currently has 78 member nations, 300 affiliated members, 18 prime sponsors and 60 supporters.
 
Although mega projects are undertaken all over the world, the category "Innovative and Contributing Underground Space" highlights the importance of underground space as a dedicated space which needs to be invested as a link between above and subterranean space, to build resilient and sustainable urban areas. The key projects in the race are:
 
*Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL) Padur, India
 
Energy security is one of the country's most challenging issues and hence the Padur project was entrusted to ISPRL by the Indian government. 
 
The company is building an underground storage for crude oil. This project is innovative as it highlights the importance of co-existence between the above ground and underground spaces.
 
The facilities provide the safest and most secure means of storing the crude oil for longer period of time and since the product is stored at a depth of 80 metres below earth surface. 
The above ground portion of the facility requires very less spaces and balance land available can be utilized for creating other renewable energy projects such solar power plants and the facility can exist without disturbing natural green environment. 
 
The total length of the tunnelling for creating the underground caverns was 30 km with approximately excavation of 22 million tonne of hard rock.
 
Shenzhen Chegongmiao Integrated Traffic Hub Project (China)
 
It is a huge multi-functional project. The scope of work includes building a new metro interchange station, Xiangmihu Road improvement works, municipal auxiliary works and underground space development. 
 
The above-ground space for land saving function, and its scope includes underground metro stations, business development, underpasses, ground roads, bridge renovation.
 
The project facilitated traffic functions of Xiangmihu and Shennan Avenues, improved the surrounding pedestrian system and traffic connection facilities, implemented the separation of people and vehicles, and comprehensively enhanced the traffic and distribution capacity in the region through the renovation of Chegongmiao Interchange and Xiangmihu Interchange while carrying out metro construction.
 
Union Square Market Street Station (US) - Battered drilled shafts as permanent ground support
 
The UMS is an underground station that is being constructed as a part of the Central Subway Project in San Francisco, California.
 
The entire project is a 1.7-mile-long subway extension with three underground stations and one surface station. The project will improve public transportation by extending the Muni Metro T Third Line through South of Market District, Union Square and Chinatown.
 
The south entrance will be integrated with the existing BART/MUNI Powell Street Station, providing a direct connection between the two transit lines.
 
To the North, the main entrance will be at the south-east corner of Union Square on Geary Street. A portion of the famous Union Square Garage and Plaza will be repurposed to house the main points of egress as well as two emergency ventilation shafts. 
 
The station is 950 ft long. Its overall configuration is divided into three areas: the North Concourse, the Platform and the South Concourse. The North Concourse is about 200 ft long and 55 ft below the roadway. 
 
The platform is 400 ft long and ranges in depth from 90 to 100 ft. The South Concourse is about 250 ft long along Stockton Street and another 100 ft as it wraps along Ellis Street. The depth ranges from 20 to 30 ft as it ascends north.
 
According to ITA experts, the global pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of space, especially in urban areas. "And the biggest challenge that has been thrown at us is 'How can an urban life be planned if people must stand 1 m away from one another?'," they stated. 
 
On the contrary, can global megalopolis provide their entire population with enough electricity and water if people must live in a long-term containment? 
 
Added to global demographic growth registered over the past decades and housing challenges encountered, the emergency of finding new solutions to free space in surface is more accurate than ever, said the experts.
 
This emergency is one more reason for international decision makers to pursue their will to rethink urban planning to free space in surface, they added.-TradeArabia News Service



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