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12th Austrian Tunnel Day: Andreas Rath Takes Over Presidency of ITA Austria

The 12th Austrian Tunnel Day could not be held in 2020 due to Covid 19. Therefore, the Austrian National Committee of ITA (ITA Austria) held the Tunnel Day as a hybrid event on October 13, 2021, at the Salzburg Kongresshaus. The Tunnels Day 2021 was attended by 428 visitors who were present in person and 48 who were connected via video; the exhibition booths were well booked and the participants were able to have personal discussions with each other again after the pandemic-related break.

The president of ITA Austria, Wolfgang Stipek, opened the event and reported on the activities and new regulations for tunnel construction. Afterwards, Robert Galler, the representative of ITA Austria, informed about the current situation in ITA International.

Renewable Energies, Regulations and Innovations in Tunnel Construction

The guest lecture on the topic „Smart solutions for 100 % renewable energies“ was held by Brigitte Bach, member of the board of Salzburg AG. With very impressive explanations, the major challenges of the next years for the generation and distribution of renewable energies were presented and the concepts to cope with this challenging task were reported.

The first half day was dedicated to the special challenges of current large-scale construction projects and new regulations for tunnel construction. The second half-day focused on „Innovation and execution of tunneling projects – ways into the future“.

Innovation Awards Ceremony

At the „Tunnel Day 2021“ innovation awards ceremony, the jury was able to select the following winners from nine high-quality submissions according to the criteria of practical construction significance, innovation and environmental relevance:

Technical „Developments“ Category

1st prize: Approaching gallery and inclined shaft by means of TBM-O without gripper bracing; Johannes Engleithner, Bernd Hofmann, Matthias Türtscher – G. Hinteregger & Söhne Baugesellschaft m.b.H; Martin Lechner, Thomas Winkler – Porr Bau GmbH.

2nd prize: Compression elements made of high-strength polysterol;Manuel Entfellner – Implenia Austria

3rd prize: Automated Service Vehicle; Wolfgang Weber – VirtuRail GmbH

Categories „Developments in Construction“ and „Sustainability”

The Innovation Award for “Developments in Construction” went to the submission „VOD – Ventilation Controls“, submitted by Florian Aelfers and Peter Bartokos from Porr Bau GmbH.

The „Sustainability Award“ went to the submission „New Apprenticeship – Tunnel Construction Technicians“ submitted by Josef Pesserl, President of the Styrian Chamber of Labour, Josef Muchitsch, Chairman of the Trade Union Bau Holz and Member of the National Council, Karin Panzenböck, Managing Director of the bfi, Manfred Bauer, Managing Director of the G. Hinteregger & Söhne Baugesellschaft mbH, Rainer Antretter, machine manager at BeMo Tunnelling, Alfred Bacher, machine manager at Östu-Stettin and Peter Schwab from the University of Leoben.

Josef Pesserl, from the Styrian Chamber of Labour, and Josef Muchitsch, Member of the National Council, thanked the participants for the presentation of the Sustainability Award and expressed in their speeches the high value of good training for tunnel construction technicians for the successful further development of Austrian tunnel construction.

Handover of the ITA-Austria Presidency

This was followed by the handover of the presidency of ITA Austria from Wolfgang Stipek to Andreas Rath. At the beginning, Wolfgang Stipek reported on his experience after more than 40 years in the construction industry, based on around 100 successfully implemented construction projects, of which around 90 were in tunnel construction. After a brief explanation of the tasks of the President of ITA Austria – with a focus on the organisation of the Austrian Tunnelling Day and the DACH Meeting – Wolfgang Stipek presented the Austrian tunnelling industry in an international comparison, building on his many years of experience.

Finally, he thanked all participants for the good cooperation over many years and the constructive climate of discussion. He then handed over the presidency to Andreas Rath with best wishes and much success for the future tasks.

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