Founded in 1974 and based in Lausanne, Switzerland, the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA-AITES) was created in order to promote a greater use of underground space as a key instrument in sustainable development.
ITA-AITES is a non-profit nongovernmental organization and is made up of a large community of professionals. They are actively involved in the tunnel and underground space industry and it is composed by engineers, project owners, town planners, architects, industrial designers, companies specialized in public works and major structures, suppliers of construction site facilities and equipment, lawyers, politicians, researchers and academics economists and financial experts that they add on many other stakeholders.
ITA-AITES currently brings together 78 Member Nations and 266 corporate or individual affiliate members, including 14 Prime Sponsors. The Association is run by an Executive Council made up of 15 members elected by the Member Nations. The President for the current 2019- 2022 term is Mrs Jinxiu (Jenny) Yan, from China.
She is assisted by four vice presidents: Mr. Lars Babendererde (Germany), Mr. Arnold Dix (Australia), Mr. Randall Essex (USA) and Mr. Giuseppe Lunardi (Italy). One of the great strengths of ITA-AITES lies in the synergy created by its 20,000 international experts. These experts from internationally renowned universities and the tunnel industry share their experience at conferences and meetings organized by ITA or its Member Nations.
These discussions take place on a regular basis and have proven extremely fruitful: researchers share the latest scientific studies with the professionals in the industrial sector of tunnels and underground space. Conversely, industry players keep the researchers abreast of the new cutting-edge technologies in the sector and the fieldwork being carried out.
ITA is a technical-oriented international organization that has enjoyed Special Consultative Status with the United Nations since 1987. This status has enabled ITA-AITES to get involved with several international policy programs.
ITA is publishing at the occasion of the WTC several reports prepared by the ITA Working Groups and Committees such as: Guideline for Radially Installed Bolts in Tunnelling ; Rock Support for Mechanically Bored Tunnels ; Tunnel Spoil handling, Treatment and Disposal Options from a Global Perspective ; An Owners Guide to Immersed Tunnels ; ITA-AITES Recommendations for the Application of ISO 19650 Series during the Delivery of underground Projects and Assets – Information Management Process and Responsibility Matrix – Vol 1 and BIM in Tunnelling – Guideline for Bored Tunnels – Vol 1.
15 active groups:
The International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association shares its expertise by regularly publishing analyses, position papers and symposium reports, all of which are available on its corporate website.
4 ITA Committees:
ITA Committee for Education and Training
Since the year 2000, the ITA has identified education and training as one of the most important challenges and needs of the association. It officially established the ITA’s Committee for Education and Training (ITACET) in 2007 to promote education and training throughout the tunnelling and underground space association and assist its coordination.
The Committee works in close collaboration with the ITACET Foundation, created in 2009 to facilitate funding and organisational aspects of training and education actions. The importance of knowledge sharing through education and training has been reaffirmed over the years in the ITA’s Strategic Plans and remains a priority of the current Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2020. A certain number of actions have been identified by ITA in relation to this goal:
- Support Member Nations through the organization of training sessions and workshops.
- Develop a training offer for professionals and industry.
- Implement e-learning / webinars.
- Create and develop a university network as well as a regional correspondents network.
- Involve Working Groups and Committees in the preparation of didactic documents and ITA-CET
- Courses, based on their publications.
- Organize specific training sessions on the use of underground space in developing countries.
Robert GALLER – Chairman
Michel DEFFAYET – Vice Chairman
ITA Committee on Operational Safety of Underground Facilities
ITA COSUF is the Centre of Excellence for world-wide exchange of information and know-how regarding safety and security of underground facilities in operation.
ITA COSUF – the Committee on Operational Safety of Underground Facilities was founded at the 33rd ITAAITES World Tunnel Congress (WTC) 2005 in Istanbul, following a joint initiative of 8 European research projects which all aimed at an improved tunnel safety. It is one out of four ITA committees and supported by PIARC, the World Road Association.
The Committee’s scope concerns the operational safety in tunnels and other underground facilities as well as security.
Maximilian Wietek – Chairman
Eric Premat – Vice Chairman
ITA Committee on Underground Space
ITACUS believes in an urban underground future. The urban underground space in our experience is an often-overlooked asset of cities. As such underground space should play a vital role in the quest, many cities are undertaking to combat lack of space. Cities need space for housing, for infrastructure and public spaces.
As demands on cities grow in terms of spatial requirements, they also must cope with climate change. They need to become more resilient against natural disasters. Cities need to mitigate and above all, adapt. The urban underground can provide solutions for helping cities achieve this. ITACUS has launched activity groups dealing with relevant topics, such as urban adaptability, urban sustainability, urban integration, and the circular economy, and is thus contributing to the further development of this important field.
The Next Level Up is Down is the core of itacus vision and strategy. As cities have grown denser, it seemed only natural to extend skywards. However, the sky is not the limit: Cities need to start looking downwards to adapt to new circumstances and reach the next level of existence. ITACUS believes this should not just be for new spaces but also for renewable energy and to achieve food security.
ITACUS as a committee of the ITA, has the mandate to reach out to policy leaders, NGOs and interrelated disciplines. ITACUS presents at worldwide congresses, seminars, and workshops to create awareness of the undergrounds potential but also to foster the integration into the urban fabric through planning and applied uses. ITACUS works closely together with its global partner ISOCARP, the International Society of City and Regional Planners. ITACUS actively contributes to the work of both UNDRR and UN-Habitat. With ISOCARP, ITACUS has developed a ‘Think Deep’ publication on the planning of the underground containing several urban case studies. The Young Professional’s Think Deep Program (YPTDP) is well underway, inviting young interdisciplinary professionals from the built environment to work on real city cases jointly. Currently, ITACUS is looking for further cities to participate. Many countries (such as UK, Sweden, Australia) have now started local Think Deep National Actions Program (TDNAP) groups with guidance from ITACUS.
Han Admiraal – Co-chair
Antonia Cornaro – Co-chair
ITA Committee on new technologies
The aim of ITAtech is to provide a platform for engineers, manufacturers, contractors, and suppliers to draw global experience and expertise together for the benefit of the whole industry, and to find ways of supporting the introduction of new techniques and products by collaborating on the development of design and performance criteria and preparing application of best-practice guidelines.
The ITAtech activity groups (AG) include all processes related to underground construction such as Data Management, Excavation, Lining, Support &Waterproofing and Design. 5 AG & 13 Sub Activity Groups (SubAG) are working: Data Management: Investigation, Face mapping, Monitoring. Excavation: Mechanized Support, TBM Material Consumables, TBM services Guideline, Preinjection Grouting. Linning, Support & Waterproofing: Waterproofing, Permanent Sprayed Concrete, Cast In Situ, Bolts & Arches. Maintenance & Repair: Coatings, Condition Survey. Design.
ITAtech members will be able to participate inside various activity groups (see activities) and work as well propose topics for studying new technologies with the final goal to review them and when approved promote them into the tunnelling market.
Nick Chittenden – Chairman
Alberto Rey – Vice Chairman
ITA Young Members
Officially created at the ITA General Assembly 2014 in Iguassu, Brazil, the ITA Young Members Group (ITAYM) is currently present within more than 20 Member Nations.
The main goal of this group is to be technical network platform for young professionals and students in the tunnelling & underground space industry.
Jasmin Amberg – Chairman
Chrysothemis Paraskevopoulou – Vice Chairman
DFTU – Danish Tunnelling Society
The society was created in 1983 with the purpose to arrange the corporation with the ITA and promote the development of tunnel and underground works.
Their primary activities are to arrange lectures about different tunnel related topics. There are 34 corporate members and 230 individual participants.
A large part of 2021 was still affected by the COVID-10 pandemic. However, since the re-opening of the Danish Society in the summer of 2021, the first member meetings since 2019 were successfully held.
Some of current tunnelling projects in Denmark
The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link
An 18km long immersed tunnel connecting the island of Fehmarn in Germany with the island of Lolland in Denmark. The tunnel will comprise a four-lane motorway and dual track railway. The fixed link will close a gap in the rail network between Scandinavia and central Europe and will be supported by the EU as one of the Community’s prioritised railway corridors in Europe.
Construction is ongoing on the main civil works contracts, where reclamation works and erection of casting facilities for the immersed tunnel elements in ongoing on the Danish coast. The MEP contract was tendered in 2021.
The Nordhavn Tunnel
A 1.4km road tunnel connecting the existing Nordhavnsvej tunnel with the urban development area in Nordhavn(Northern Harbour), Copenhagen. Once finished the road will form a 3km tunnel connection with the Elsinore motorway and the road network north of Copenhagen. The project will connect with a new Ring Road going east of Copenhagen. The Nordhavn Tunnel will be constructed as a cut & cover structure through an existing leisure boat harbour. The harbour area will be backfilled to construct a temporary dam, through which the tunnel will be excavated and cast. After construction of the tunnel the harbour will be re-established. In 2021 the tender was sent to the market.
Copenhagen Metro Extension Southern Harbour
Extension of the Copenhagen Metro line M4 by 8km TBM tunnels and five underground stations to bring the southern harbour residential area into the Copenhagen metro network. Construction works started in 2018 and the line is due to open in 2024.
Two EBPMs completed tunnelling in 2021.
Strandboulevarden Storm Water Tunnel
In Northern Copenhagen the Strandboulevarden Storm Water Tunnel consisting of 900m of 2m diameter TBM bored tunnel and 220m of 2.5m diameter TBM tunnel including four shafts was completed in 2021.
The Kalvebod Brygge Storm Water Tunnel
A 1.5km long pipe jacked tunnel with ID of 2-3m and three shafts, one includes a outlet pump structure. The construction works started in 2021 and are expected to be completed by 2027. The tunnels will cross under existing railway tracks and in very close proximity to the Metro Circle line.
Underground development of the Copenhagen South Station
Includes a concourse area connecting the metro, regional trains station, S-train station and the Øresund railway.
Future tunnelling activities
Tunnelling activity in the coming years will increase with many new projects coming up. Some of the major projects that will start construction within the next 5 years are:
Svanemøllen Storm Water Tunnel
Consisting of 10km bored tunnels, of which 2.5km is a segmental lined tunnel with i.d. of 4.9m and the remaining 7.5km is pipe jacked tunnels with 1.6 – 3.2m i.d. The shafts are circular and vary in diameter from 15m to 20m and from 15m to 30m depth. The Environmental Impact Assessment and design is under preparation and the project is planned to be tendered for construction in 2023. Construction cost is DKK2bn.
The Marselis Boulevard tunnel
A project connecting the harbour to the major road network. The tunnel is planned as a cut & cover structure. An update of the EIA study that was performed in 2010 will be tendered in 2022. Construction work is planned for 2025 -2 029 with a total cost of DKK2.7bn.
A study for a new eastern by-pass in Copenhagen
Designed to close the existing gap and reduce traffic in the City Centre, was completed in 2020. Two corridors have been investigated covering nine different alignments. Cut & cover tunnels, TBM bored tunnels and immersed tunnels have been investigated. The recommended alignment will run through a tunnel from Nordhavn via Lynetteholmen and Refshaleøen and continue as an immersed tunnel along the east coast of Amager Island before joining the motorway network by the airport. The road will be designed for four lanes and a design speed of 80km/ hour. The construction cost is estimated to be between €2.6 and €4.1bn (2019) depending on which alignment is selected.
A 3rd connection over Limfjord in Northern Demark
A 23km new road including an immersed tunnel to the island of Egholm has been added to the government’s infrastructure investment plan. Construction cost is estimated at €1bn (2019).
Further studies for a road and a rail tunnel between the Danish city Helsingør and the Swedish city of Helsingborg have been performed. Separate alignments are being investigated for the road and rail connection. Both connections include a subsea tunnel below the Øresund sea connecting Helsinborg in Sweden with Helsingør in Denmark.
An 18km subsea metro line connecting Malmö in Sweden with Copenhagen in Denmark. The connection will provide a second link between the two cities and reduce travel time from 40 minutes to 20 minutes with departures every two minutes. This will free capacity on the Øresund Railway connection which will be required when the Femern Belt link in put into operation. The fourth phase of the feasibility study was completed in spring 2021.
Copenhagen Metro extension line M5
A study of new metro lines connecting to Lynetteholm Island, a proposed new development area for new housing, was issued in 2020. Three different alignments are being proposed comprising between nine and 11 stations. Construction cost is estimate at €3bn (2019).
The Kattegat Fixed Link
A project connecting Zealand with Jutland passing the island of Samsø for rail and road – several alignments combining bridges, bored and immersed tunnels are being considered. The feasibility report will be published by the Danish Road Administration in 2022.