Monthly Archives: May 2013

TBM Elizabeth breakthrough at Canary Wharf station

Tom Lawson

The Crossrail project has celebrated its biggest milestone so far as Elizabeth, one of its huge 1,000 tonne tunnelling machines has broken through into the new Canary Wharf station box.

At an event today, Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Crossrail Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme and selected guests visited the new Canary Wharf station to view tunnelling machine Elizabeth and the huge progress made on the Crossrail project so far.

Crossrail’s eastern tunnelling machines, named Elizabeth and Victoria, were launched from the Limmo site near Canning Town towards the end of last year to create 8.3km (5.16 miles) of tunnels from east London to Farringdon – Crossrail’s longest tunnel section. A marathon-equivalent 26 mile (42km) section of tunnels beneath central London will be built in total for Crossrail.

Over the past 6 months, both machines have been working round the clock to create the first section of new tunnels beneath the River Lea and east London towards the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station. Tunnelling machine Elizabeth was the first to arrive and has now broken through into the huge Canary Wharf station box 28 metres underground – view the breakthrough moment here (footage strictly embargoed until 10am).

Crossrail Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme said: “The Canary Wharf tunnelling breakthrough is our biggest milestone so far and a symbolic moment that shows the scale of the essential new transport links Crossrail is delivering. We are making good progress in building world-class new stations and a marathon of tunnels beneath London with the entire Crossrail project now more than a third complete. We are on track to deliver Europe’s biggest construction project on time and on budget.”

The new Canary Wharf Crossrail station box has been designed and built by Canary Wharf Group who are also delivering a four-storey retail development above the ticket hall and platform levels. The retail development will be topped by a roof top garden, community facility and restaurant semi-covered by a striking Foster-designed timber lattice roof.

Canary Wharf Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sir George Iacobescu said: “We are very proud of the role Canary Wharf Group played delivering the Canary Wharf Crossrail station well ahead of schedule, ready for the tunnel boring machines to breakthrough. Four years after construction of Crossrail began here at Canary Wharf, the breakthrough represents a large and tangible step towards a new world-class rail line, set to benefit the whole of London through reduced travel times and much enhanced capacity and resilience.”

Tunnelling machine Elizabeth will now undergo maintenance inside the Canary Wharf station box before resuming tunnelling towards central London. Sister machine Victoria is due to breakthrough into the station in the next few weeks.

Crossrail’s construction commenced on 15 May 2009 with the start of work on Canary Wharf station, with tunnelling work starting in May 2012. The western tunnelling machines Phyllis and Ada have now reached Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street respectively. In south-east London, tunnelling machine Sophia has reached the Woolwich station box with sister machine Mary now underway from Plumstead.

Crossrail is moving into the peak of construction between now and 2015. The entire project is now more than one-third complete and progress made to-date includes:


Source: Crossrail



Paris: Tender out for six new metro stations

The first stage of the massive Paris Metro upgrade is out to tender.


Urban and landscape architectural design of a viaduct and insertion and a subway station (line 11 extension Rosny Bois Perrier).

The contest is part of the proposed extension of the metro line 11 in Rosny Bois-Perrier (about 6 km further, six new stations). This project is subject to joint control work performed by STIF and RATP.

The competition focuses on the architectural design and urban integration and landscape of a viaduct with a length of 600 meters including aerial station. The project management is ensured by the RATP.

The report asked the candidates in this competition will be a sketch level.

At the end of the contest and after negotiation, one winner will receive a market slices intellectual services.

It is a market with slices on architectural and landscape design and urban integration of the viaduct and the station with the engineering department of the RATP and the architectural monitoring during construction.

The package includes:

– A firm order for the pre-project studies (AVP)

– A conditional phase 1 studies for the project (PRO)

– A conditional phase 2 for architectural and landscape monitoring for the management and monitoring phases of the execution of works contracts (DET) and assistance to the project owner during receive operations (AOR).

Type of contest:


Envisaged number of participants minimum number 3 / maximum number 5

Time limit for receipt of projects or requests to participate


For further information on how to access these tenders, please contact:

Katerina Hojgrova, DiS. Business Information Account Manager

Office: +44 (0)1273 201115 M UK: +44 (0) 7956 627788 M USA: +1 (0) 3106 942691 email: twitter: @WANBusinessInfo

Washington State Bridge Collapse – Tip of the iceberg?

700washington bridge collapse

Another bridge in the US, this time on the route between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, has collapsed. The bridge, between north of Mount Vernon and south or Burlington, collapsed just after 7 p.m. on Thursday, the Washington State Patrol reported. Several vehicles were plunged into the Skagit River following the collapse. Three were taken to hospital, but there were no fatalities.

The four-lane Interstate 5 bridge collapsed about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, according to a state trooper. Washington Transportation Department records indicate that the Skagit River Bridge – over half a century old – was deemed “structurally deficient” as of Sept. 1, 2011. There are reportedly 156 such classified state-owned bridges.

It is reported that a Canadian truck overloaded with drilling equipment collided several of the bridge’s overhead trusses when making a crossing. State officials hope a temporary structure can be put in place before funds for the $15m replacement can be raised. The collapse cuts of Skagit county interstate traffic, posing a big threat to the region’s farming economy.

Of the existing bridges in the US, 68,842, or 11.5% of total highway bridges are classified as “structurally deficient,” requiring significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement.

A full report will follow soon.

Richard Greenan

Rail, Air, Road and Rail Projects Consolidate at Miami Intermodal Center

miami interm 1

The Florida Department of Transportation’s Miami Intermodal Center is scheduled for completion in 2013. The project’s final component, Miami Central Station, covers 16.5 acres and is scheduled to open in early 2014. It will join the Miami Rental Car Center and the Miami International Airport (MIA) Mover (completed in 2010 and 2011, respectively) to bring travellers a wealth of new options in the area.

The linking of the Intermodal Center to MIA via a rapid-transit system is seen to herald a new era of consolidated, modernised infrastructure and connectivity for Miami-Dade County – developments largely thanks to construction work carried out by Odebrecht USA and its Partners. The Central Station will connect passengers with services including Amtrak, taxis, Greyhound, heavy rail to Palm Beach, Broward ans Miami-Dade, Tri-Rail and Miami Dade Transit’s Metrobus.

The director of the Miami-Dade’s Aviation Department, José Abreu, said: “Moving people is what we are all about, and we have now reached the day when our passengers can move seamlessly between various forms of ground transportation, mass transit and air travel.” The new MIA Orange Line Service and Metrorail Station, operated by the Aviation Department, boasts a 2.5 mile-long elevated spur constructed by a joint-venture between OHL and Odebrecht. The project cost $360m.


Atkins served as engineering and architectural consultants for the Metrorail project. A 20.5 mile aerial heavy rail system including 20 stations comprised the first stage of the system. Ultimately, the network will be 50 miles long, and will offer feeder bus and direct rail services to all 1.5m Miami-Dade residents.

Richard Greenan


Atkins Wins Transport Design Services Contract for On-Call Consultancy Team in Georgia

Atkins has been awarded a state-wide consultancy contract by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to enhance traffic signalling and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) in the area. The contract encompasses all phases of traffic signal design and ITS, from the collection of field data to the development of final construction plans. Atkins will also develop project specifications, design regional transportation control centres and perform other functions to support the GDOT’s traffic operations.

Atkins ITS practice manager John Hibbard states that the company’s Atlanta team has formed a close relationship with the GDOT, and possesses a firm grasp of Georgia’s transportation needs. Hibbard said: “We’ve assembled a highly qualified, comprehensive team of professionals with local understanding and nationally recognised expertise.” He continued, the “GDOT requires an on-call consultant team made up of experienced professionals who provide innovative solutions. We have that.”

The GDOT’s Atlanta-based, statewide Transportation Management Centre (TMC) has been operated by Atkins under a six-year contract since 2011. A team of about 50 TMC employees monitor traffic movement, manage incident response, provide accurate roadway information to travellers and respond directly to drivers’ calls about conditions.

The GDOT’s Regional Traffic Operations Program (RTOP) also receives engineering support from Atkins. This multijurisdictional structured program strives to improve traffic signal operations statewide through active monitoring, managing and maintenance of traffic signals. This begins in the metro Atlanta area – home to over half of Georgia’s traffic signals, half of all lane miles travelled, and three-quarters of the state’s traffic congestion.

Atkins has developed ITS solutions for clients US-wide, including Departments of Transportation in Florida, North Carolina and Nevada, as well as the city of Arlington, Texas.

Richard Greenan

Crossrail Woolwich Station fit-out inches forward

A meeting last night of Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Finance and Policy Committee approved the recommendations in the paper, specifically that the Board grant authority to TfL’s Sponsor Board members to agree a change to the Crossrail Sponsors Requirements to enable the fit-out of the Crossrail Woolwich station.

While the scheme’s initial £15 billion budget did not include the potential for a station in the area, a box had been constructed in anticipation of further funding. A funding package subsequently agreed between Greenwich Council and Berkley Homes has helped to secure Woolwich’s inclusion on the line.

Caroline Pidgeon, Deputy Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, praised the latest developments and highlighted the beneficial impact a Crossrail Woolwich station is expected to have. “The failure to deliver a station would be an absolute betrayal for people in south-east London, denying them the improved transport links and economic benefits that Crossrail is set to bring to so many other places,”

The Committee’s recommendation will go to the TfL Board. The decision on the station is matter reserved to the Crossrail Sponsors – TfL (reserved to its Board) and the Department for Transport.

A supplementary paper on costs and negotiations about financial contributions was exempt from publication.

An updated paper will be submitted to the next meeting of the Board on 3 July 2013 for decision. The papers for the meeting of the Board will be published on on 25 June 2013.

More on this soon…

Michael Hammond

National Audit Commission report questions HS2 Viability

Revised plan for London Euston Terminus

Revised plan for London Euston Terminus

Further controversy surrounding the Department for Transport’s proposed HS2 high-speed rail link between London, the Midlands and the north of the country have been sparked by a recent report from the National Audit Commission.

The report warns that the economic case for the link was unclear, and claims to have identified a funding gap of some £3.3 billion above the current Phase One estimates of between £15.4 and £17.3 billion. It goes on to state, “It’s too early in the HS2 programme to conclude on the likelihood of its achieving value for money. Our concern at this point is the lack of clarity around the Department’s objectives.

“The strategic case for the network should be better developed at this stage of the programme. It is also unclear how HS2 will transform regional economies by delivering jobs and growth.  The Department is trying against a challenging timetable to strengthen its evidence and analysis, which at present provide a weak foundation for securing and demonstrating success in the programme in future.”

However, Ministers hit back strongly with Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin rejecting the NAO’s core conclusions on the basis that they were based on a business case 18 months old. He commented that the report “depended too much on out-of-date analysis and does not give due weight to the good progress that has been made since last year. The case for HS2 is clear. Without it, the key rail routes connecting London, the Midlands and the North will be overwhelmed”.

It is hoped that HS2 will welcome its first passengers in around 2026, offering greatly reduced train times. For example, the DfT says that Phase One between London Euston and Birmingham will take just 49 minutes as opposed to the current hour and 24 minutes. HS2 Phase Two would see journey times between Birmingham and Manchester almost halved to 41 minutes, and times between London and Manchester reduced from two hours and 8 minutes to just one hour and 8 minutes.

Gail Taylor

Moscow gears up for $6.45bn Metro contract

It was announced on Tuesday May 21 that the Moscow transportation department is planning to collect bids for a 200bn Rouble ($6.45bn) metro car contract. The tender – which will be for 2,500-3,500 metro cars – will be held in August, and the cars to arrive between 2015 and 2020, the statement read. The move suggests a shift towards European style private-public partnerships for the Russian capital.

The winning tender will claim a 30-year contract, including provision of the cars and subsequent supply of maintenance services. Regular payments for maintenance and rolling stock will be made by the Russian government over the contracts lifespan, but all responsibility for financing and project management lays with the investor.

All previous metro equipment has been supplied by Russian firm Transmashholding, and maintenance carried out by the metro itself. Transmashholding representative Artem Ledenev stated that the lack of necessity to pay for rolling stock up front provides an interesting situation for customers.

Ledenev stated: “The project is interesting to us since we already supply train cars for the metro and we will participate in the tender.” He stressed that the contract could interest all major metro firms – including Alstom, Bombardier, Hitachi, CAF, Uralvagonzavod, Sinara, Skoda, CNR, CSR, Hyundai and Transmashholding. He added, “this is a large contract and the interest in it is very high.”

It is in the supplier’s interest to establish a lengthy contract for further train servicing – the cost of which for the entire cycle will also reach roughly $6.45bn. Deputy Mayor Maxim Liksutov stated: “This new approach will improve the quality of metro train maintenance while saving from 15 to 20 percent of the annual budget.”

The news comes following Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s claims that all old metro cars were to be replaced by 2020. A total of 4,800 trains currently run on the Moscow Metro, with the goal to replace them all, beginning with those serviced at the Novogireevo metro depot.

Richard Greenan

Arup and PB deliver in Brisbane



As Australia’s largest ever single investment in transport infrastructure, Brisbane’s AUD$5.6b Airport Link was always going to be a landmark project. Traffic congestion was tackled, the city’s busway network enhanced and an infamous traffic bottleneck removed through an innovative and revolutionary design.

Parsons Brinckerhoff and Arup joined forces – as PBA – to deliver the design, providing technical input to the tender and delivering the detailed design and construction phase services. It was a highly effective team that drew on their combined extensive local and international skills and resources.

The Airport Link includes three separate projects: the Northern Busway (a 3km two-way dedicated busway from Windsor to Kedron), the Airport Roundabout Upgrade, and AirportlinkM7 (a 6.7km toll road including 5.2km of tunnel). Together, they represent the largest single investment in transport infrastructure ever undertaken in Australia.

Aside from 15km of tunnel, the scheme boasts 26 bridges, 15 cut and cover structures, 7km of new surface roadways and bicycle paths, 3.5 hectares of new parklands, one million new trees and shrubs, three ventilation stations and an operations control building.



PBA used more than 1,000 staff and worked more than one million hours from the starting point in November 2006 through to demobilisation from site in late 2012. Over 18,000 construction drawings were delivered by PBA in 700 packages, with a total of 3,600 total submission cycles.

The scale and complexity of the project, along with very tight constraints imposed by a highly populated environment and the need to keep roads open, presented a formidable design challenge. Key technical challenges included a difficult geological environment and intricate geometry due to underground interchange under traffic.

The PBA design solution essentially “buries” all the large, heavy traffic movements, leaving a surface solution for local movements to cater for buses, pedestrians and cyclists. Design innovations have alleviated potential noise and visual impacts, delivering positive overall benefits to the broader community.

PBA’s scope of works included tunnel, road, geotechnical, electrical and mechanical, fire and life safety, structural and civil works design and construction phase support, as well as co-ordinating the urban design via subcontracted resources. Ground-breaking both above and below ground, Airport Link delivered on its sustainability commitments and provided an economic and social legacy for Brisbane.

Richard Greenan


Infrastructure: catalyst for development?

Infrastructure has always been the oxygen of development. It’s no coincidence that most of the world’s cities straddle rivers, once the sites of early settlements. More recently, infrastructure has been playing catch up, forever increasing capacity to service the sustained influx of 21st century city dwellers.

However a groundbreaking development in Vauxhall, London, sees infrastructure taking the lead and triggering one of the largest redevelopments in Europe.

A developer’s agenda is not the same as a city leader’s but their world’s are inextricably linked. A new tower for example will inevitably increase loading on the existing infrastructure but on the other hand, when completed and full of tax paying residents, will generate significant revenue for the city coffers.

The Nine Elms scheme is rare example of what can be done when the visions come together.

But is Nine Elms really that different? To get a true perspective, we need to examine some other areas of London.

London Bridge viaduct

London Bridge viaduct

London Bridge Tower (The Shard) South of the Thames is currently in the limelight, providing an excellent example as a fully integrated development. I am reluctant to use the hackneyed term joined up thinking, but until someone comes up with a better one, this project is the epitome of this notion. It has been hailed as a vertical city and in this respect, it works, being forged in the sky above an existing major hub. The tower’s hinterland, including the already vibrant Borough Market is set for a total transformation of its community.

Kings Cross concourse

Kings Cross concourse

Further north in the city, the current largest development in Europe, Kings Cross covering  67 acres, whilst not being vertical is strategically centered on the St Pancras International/Kings Cross transport hub which connects London to the UK’s North and Midlands and to mainland Europe via Eurostar and the Channel Tunnel.

Cross Rail's new station at Whitechapel

Cross Rail’s new station at Whitechapel

Crossrail, London’s East/West metro line currently under construction is now stimulating property values across the capital. The long awaited project has been on the cards for decades, but now that the four giant boring machines are creating 100m/day of tunnel each, so property bubbles are emerging around each station on the line. Whitechapel, the seedy district best known for its notorious Jack the Ripper connection is now cited as being the next Notting Hill, one of London’s most sought after areas.

Crossrail comes to Canary Wharf

Crossrail comes to Canary Wharf

Further East, the ambitious dockland development at Canary Wharf had stalled in the 1980s due partly to a recession but also the lack of transport connections, being serviced only by a limited capacity, Dockland’s Light Railway.  The rolling out of the city’s main underground network in the guise of the Jubilee line in 1999 transformed the development into a highly successful business district. London had its own La Defence. The additional connection via Crossrail (now under construction) will secure the ongoing prosperity of the district.

9ELMS 700 map

However, the big daddy of infrastructure-generated developments is the Nine Elms project. Covering some 200 acres, the previously blighted borough of Vauxhall is being hailed as the city’s greatest transformational story. The development stretches along the South bank of the Thames with the hulk of the disused Battersea power station at the West end, and the sparkling new Vauxhall tower at the East.

9ELMS 700 battersea

The sad and ingnomious trail of false starts that Battersea has suffered over the recent decades could only have been reversed by something close to divine intervention. The bolt didn’t come out of the sky, but from underground, in the form of an extension to London’s Northern Line underground.

It was a brave move, spending £1bn GBP on a transport infrastructure network to an area that no one wanted to go to, but suddenly everything added up.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council and chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership: “Bringing the Tube to Battersea has long been the ambition of this council and we are now within touching distance. This project is the key to unlocking Nine Elms on the South Bank’s full potential and delivering 25,000 new jobs and 16,000 new homes.”

An independent study by leading economic consultancy Volterra has concluded that the wider economic benefits of extending the Northern line would pay for the scheme between three and nine times over.

The study concluded that the new Tube link would:

Expand the Central London Activity Zone – one of the most productive commercial districts in the world.

Generate up to £7.9bn in wider economic benefits and up to £4.5 billion in additional tax revenue for the Exchequer.

Repay the money spent delivering the NLE between three and nine times over through increased economic outputs and increased foreign investment in the UK.

More than treble the number new of jobs created in the area – up to 25,000

provide capacity for 16,000 new homes in the area.

It’s an impressive list. Could Nine Elms be the forerunner of a new generation of infrastructure powered developments? Let us know of other examples and we will feature them on World Infrastructure News.

Michael Hammond