Switzerland

Swiss Tunnel Congress 2022 in Lucerne: A Success With 850 Participants

For two years, the Swiss Tunnel Congress (STC) could not be held with personal attendance due to the pandemic. Accordingly, the organisers of the Swiss Tunnelling Society (STS) had reason to be particularly satisfied with the 2022 congress: On 1 and 2 June 2022, a total of 850 guests from ten countries were welcomed to the Swiss Tunnel Colloquium on the opening day and the following STC in the concert hall of the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre (KKL). A great success after the involuntary interruption.

Colloquium, congress, exhibition, evening events and excursions – the event concept could finally be implemented again as it was intended: as one of the most important platforms for the entire tunnelling industry with selected specialist lectures on fascinating tunnelling projects and informal personal exchange between colleagues.

STC 2022: Well-chosen expert lectures and informal personal exchange between colleagues
Credit/Quelle: FGU

STC 2022: Well-chosen expert lectures and informal personal exchange between colleagues
Credit/Quelle: FGU

Colloquium

The Swiss Tunnel Colloquium already had a good attendance last year, as it was held on site at the KKL to continue to support the target audience, young tunnel builders, through a lecture event with a teaching character.

The 2022 colloquium was again organised in coopera­tion with the STS young members (STSym). This year, the main topic was „Operation and Maintenance (facility management) of Underground Structures“. In six lectures, the event dealt with the growing demands on underground structures. These requirements arise from the ongoing ageing of infrastructure systems, which at the same time have to be available for increasingly intensive use.

The presentations covered, among other things, project-based topics such as the operational readiness and maximum availability of the existing tube of the Gott­hard Road Tunnel, prior to its renovation, by means of an updated maintenance strategy. Logistical and organi­sational challenges of construction under operation were explained using the example of the Lötschberg Summit Tunnel renovation. Other presentations dealt, for example, with the digital twin as a platform for software solutions that can be used for planning, operation and maintenance of infrastructure.

Stefan Maurhofer, president of the STS, welcomed the large audience of experts in Lucerne
Credit/Quelle: FGU

Stefan Maurhofer, president of the STS, welcomed the large audience of experts in Lucerne
Credit/Quelle: FGU

Congress

The congress day opened with the introductory presentation by Dr. Matthias Braun, CEO Nagra (National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste), about a “Project of the Century” – a deep geological repository in Switzerland: Nagra is planning a 50 km long tunnel system several hundred meters below ground in the Opalinus Clay rock layer. The radioactive waste is planned to be kept here – not just for centuries but for millennia.

Deep geological repository – Switzerland’s radioactive waste is to be disposed of in a tunnel system
Credit/Quelle: Nagra

Deep geological repository – Switzerland’s radioactive waste is to be disposed of in a tunnel system
Credit/Quelle: Nagra

An important focus was on reporting on the current status of Swiss underground construction projects. For instance, the approximately 5.7 km long Kerenzerberg Road Tunnel on the A3 national road was presented. The tunnel is undergoing a safety upgrade and maintenance 35 years after it was opened. A key element of this maintenance is the new construction of a parallel safety gallery, which is to be utilised as a service tunnel with an escape tunnel as well as an exhaust duct. (A detailed report on this project will follow in tunnel issue 5/2022).

Segmental lining of the
Kerenzerberg Road Tunnel safety gallery
Credit/Quelle: ASTRA

Segmental lining of the
Kerenzerberg Road Tunnel safety gallery
Credit/Quelle: ASTRA

One of the altogether 10 lectures dealt with the construction of the approach line to the new RBS underground station Bern. The urban conditions of the approx. 1.8 km long tunnel system, with regard to construction site logistics, space conditions, traffic and residents, present the contractor with great challenges.

Other projects presented by the speakers and discussed with the audience in later Q&A sessions: The Vienna underground extension U2/U5, which will increase the capacity of Wiener Linien by another 300 million passengers per year; the difficult geological context of the Les Evouettes Bypass Tunnel; the large N4 “Neue Axenstraße” project with two tunnels; the Isarco River Crossing of the Brenner Base Tunnel or the development of the automated metro lines M2 and M3 in Lausanne.

At the end of each conference session, the audience was invited to ask the speakers questions about the projects they had presented
Credit/Quelle: FGU

At the end of each conference session, the audience was invited to ask the speakers questions about the projects they had presented
Credit/Quelle: FGU

Swiss Tunnel Congress 2023

Now that the congress is over, it‘s time to look ahead to the next one. With the conclusion of a successful event with two days full of top-class technical presentations, the Swiss Tunnelling Society is already setting its sights on next year. Planning has begun, and visitors can also mark their calendars for the date: The Swiss Tunnel Congress 2023 will take place from 12 to 13 June in the KKL Lucerne.

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