5th Rock Mechanics and Tunnelling Day

On May 23, 2019, the 5th Rock Mechanics and Tunnelling Day was held at the WBI-Center in Weinheim an der Bergstraße. The informative brief conference with high-grade lectures was staged jointly by the WBI GmbH, the DB Projekt Stuttgart–Ulm GmbH, DB Netze and the civil engineering section of the Engineering Association of Württemberg.

To kick off, Gerd Dietrich Bolte, manager for major projects in central Germany for the DB Netz AG, dealt with the infrastructure development programme “Frankfurt RheinMain plus” involving 16 major rail projects – also including a new railway route of 44.5 km between Geln­hausen and Fulda, 31 km of which will run in tunnels.

Manfred Leger, board chairman of the DB Projekt Stuttgart–Ulm GmbH, provided an overview on how this major project has progressed, for example citing the successful drives in the anhydrite rock of the Feuerbach and Bad Cannstatt tunnels, the imminent breakthroughs of both tubes of the Albvorland Tunnel and the general stage reached by activities on the route between Wendlingen and Ulm: 94 % of the excavations had been accomplished by late May as well as 89 % of the inner lining work.

Heinz Ehrbar, who heads the DB Netz AG’s Competence Center Major Projects 4.0, presented the key factors for the success of major projects – with great competence and in a highly entertaining manner – beginning with deploying the “right people at the right place” by way of consistent risk and quality management up to an entrepreneurial and project culture characterised by ethical values.

Dr.-Ing. Martin Herrenknecht, chairman of the board of the Herrenknecht AG, concentrated on “Innovations in mechanised Tunnelling” – including the new E-Power Pipe method for the precise laying of cables close to the surface over lengthy distances as well as areas of application for the VSM shaft sinking system and Shaft Boring Roadheaders (SBRs).

Dr.-Ing. Marcus Schenkel from the DB Netz AG spoke on the state of planning for the new Dresden–Prague rail route involving a tunnel of at least 25 km in length through the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) between Germany and the Czech Republic. The Deutsche Bahn is working closely together with the Czech railway infrastructure administration SŻDC. Currently a joint planning contract is being developed, which will regulate how the cross-border tunnel is to be designed. The exact length of the tunnel has still to be resolved. At the moment, the possible routes are being examined on the German side.

Prof. Walter Wittke explained the economic and safe dimensioning of structures in jointed rock by means of the AJRM (Anisotropic Jointed Rock Mass Model) based on examples of applications.

The following sessions of the conference day featured further interesting technical presentations by experts, devoted to topics that – for example – included sophisticated excavations of large chambers for the final storage of radioactive waste in the former Konrad iron ore mine, the five road tunnels for the Bavarian Loisachtal Valley chain of tunnels – some of which are still under construction, current construction reports from the Stuttgart 21 project as well as the possibility of satellite-supported monitoring of soil movements in mining and tunnelling.

Walter Wittke Prize for Dr. Anna Ramon Tarragona

This year’s Walter Wittke Prize was awarded to Dr. Anna Ramon Tarragona of the Polytech University of Catalonia in Barcelona. After receiving the award, she delivered her lecture “Interaction of Infrastructures with Anhydritic Rocks and its Hydro-Chemo-Mechanical Modelling”.

The Walter Wittke Prize will be presented again in 2020. Entries are possible until March 1, 2020. You can find details and documents by accessing www.ajrm.de.

The 6th Rock Mechanics and Tunnelling Day will take place at the WBI-Center on May 7, 2020. Relevant details are to be found on www.felsmechanik.eu.

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