Swiss Tunnelling Society: 50th Anniversary With Switzerland-Wide “Insight Into the Underground”

“Switzerland has a tradition of over 150 years in underground construction. Unique structures for transport, hydropower, research and the military bear witness to this. As an established group of experts, our FGU/STS network has been leading this tradition into the future for 50 years. We want to celebrate the anniversary with the experts – and also show numerous well-known and lesser-known underground structures to the public throughout Switzerland,” says Stefan Maurhofer, President of the FGU/STS (Swiss Tunnelling Society) expert group, looking forward to the upcoming anniversary celebrations.

50th Anniversary of the Swiss Tunnelling Society

In 2023, the Swiss Tunnelling Society of the SIA (Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects) celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Swiss Underground Construction Association - founded in 1973 by a far-sighted collective – today represents the interests of the various parties involved in underground construction, including clients, planners, contractors, universities and industry. These build, maintain, rehabilitate and operate the underground structures that are important for the country in the sectors of energy, infrastructure and hydraulic engineering.

In addition, the STS is committed to an even more diverse use of underground space in the future. Central to this is spreading and promoting knowledge and expertise in underground construction through events such as academic conferences, congresses and excursions.

12 –13 June 2023: Anniversary Celebration at the Swiss Tunnel Congress

The anniversary celebration will take place as part of the Swiss Tunnel Congress 2023 from 12-13 June 2023 in the KKL Luzern. At the ceremony on 12 June 2023, the history of Switzerland‘s eventful underground construction sector will be reviewed as well as looking to the future. In a panel, representatives of the STS, together with illustrious guests, will venture a retrospective and outlook on Swiss underground construction and the diverse activities of the FGU.

STS Young Members Panel

An “STS Young Members Panel” will also be held for the first time at the anniversary congress. The aim is to promote young tunnel builders and to offer them a platform. Six participants will present a special project in which they have played a significant role. These can be master‘s or doctoral theses, research projects, planned or executed projects, or special aspects of a project. The panel will be a competition. A jury will select the best presentations, and they will be awarded prizes at the ceremony.

On the second day, 13 June 2023, the focus will be on presentations on “Alpine Tunnels Switzerland” in the morning and selected, current Swiss projects in the afternoon.

Insight Into the Underground: Unique Subterranean Experiences for Everyone

Under the title “Insight into the Underground”, the STS is giving the general public access to well-known and lesser-known, unique and exciting underground structures throughout its anniversary year. For this purpose, the owners and managers will open a large number of construction sites and existing underground structures on five days in five Swiss regions:

6 May 2023, Northwest Switzerland: Weinberg Tunnel (Zurich Central Station), Bözberg Tunnel (Schinz­nach-Dorf), Obfelden-Ottenbach cut-and-cover tunnel, Velotunnel (City of Zurich) and others.

17 June 2023, Ticino: Second tube Gotthard Road Tunnel (Airolo), hydroelectric power plant Ritom (Quinto), military fortress (Ponte Brolla), hydroelectric power plant (Biasca) and others

26 August 2023, Eastern Switzerland: Hagerbach Test Gallery (Flums), Brail Tunnel II renovation (Zernez railway station), A3 Kerenzerberg Tunnel (Filzbach), new Albula Tunnel (Preda) and others

16 September 2023, Central Switzerland: Second tube Gotthard Road Tunnel (Göschenen), Lungern North-Giswil South – Kaiserstuhl Tunnel, Brünig Park (Lungern), underground Edelpilzz farm (Stansstad) and others

23 September 2023, Western Switzerland: Grimselwelt (Guttannen), Salt Mine (Bex), Mont Terri Rock Laboratory (Saint-Ursanne) A9 (Visp southern bypass) and others

Interested parties experience first-hand what there is to know behind the infrastructure that is used every day, how the subsurface can be used in even more diverse ways, how fascinating underground construction is, how safety is ensured and what challenges planners, contractors and maintenance face. The website www.einblick.swisstunnel.ch provides all the information and events and, where necessary, registration options. The offer is open to everyone and participation is free of charge, with a few exceptions.

Expert Network for Swiss Underground Construction

The STS is the Swiss trade association of underground construction. Founded in 1973, the network promotes and disseminates knowledge, technical information and innovation in underground mining by supporting research and teaching as well as through study conferences and excursions - for the targeted education and training of its members. It also supports young professionals in underground construction by involving young members in organisations and committees at an early stage. The Swiss Tunnelling Society Young Members (STSym) was founded in 2017. It is open to engineers under 35 and offers a platform for national and international networking.

The STS experts are also involved in drawing up standards, recommendations, guidelines and the like for underground construction in coordination with the SIA and other professional associations in Switzerland and internationally. To this end, the STS maintains contacts with networks from other countries, particularly within the framework of international underground construction societies. The Swiss Tunnel Congress, organised annually by the STS, is the most important platform for Swiss underground engineers.


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