Tunnellers caught up with each other at the 2011 STUVA Conference.
Established for many years as the “tunnellers’ get-together” and held in high esteem in expert circles the STUVA Conference held at the Berlin Fairgrounds from December 6 till 8, 2011, which attracted more than 1,400 participants, was a great success.
After 1981 and 1997 this was the third time the STUVA Conference was held in Berlin – a city with a long tunnelling tradition although situated in flat terrain. With an eye to the future work on a metro system started here at the end of the 19th century, mainly using cut-and-cover at the time. Tunnelling reached its peak as numerous schemes were undertaken in conjunction with the German Unity Transport Projects and the development of the road and rail networks for the new capital. Many of these projects are at least partly underground – something which enabled the city to be developed in the first place. It was recognised at an early stage that problems resulting from the ever growing volume of traffic could only be tackled by running transport arteries below the surface thus complying with environmental requirements. Dr. Kunst from Berlin’s Senate Administration touched on the development of transportation in Berlin in the opening paper taking the elimination of dead-end stations into account.
In his opening address the STUVA board chairman, Prof. Martin Ziegler, dealt with the need to develop the infrastructure in order to also ensure a prosperous society in future. This must be accomplished in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly fashion in order to maintain a balance. The Conference’s motto was thus “Underground Construction for Sustainable Environmental and Climate Protection”.
Ziegler pointed out that increasingly major projects are difficult to accomplish nowadays given strong resistance from sections of the public. He advocated that the need for underground links must be brought home to the population. A step in this direction was provided in the keynote speech, dealing with the issue whether people were onlookers, opponents or participants when it came to improving the acceptance of major projects by the general public
The resultant series of lectures dealt with the wide spectrum of underground construction:
- International Major Projects
- Safety in Tunnelling
- Legal Issues
- Tunnel Ventilation, Tunnel Operation
- Mechanised Tunnelling
- Tunnel Redevelopment, Tunnel Renovation
This series was rounded off by a section devoted to underground construction in the Berlin area.
The excursions on Day 3 completed the event and afforded extremely varied impressions of individual elements of Berlin’s infrastructure. Participants were able to get to know “Berlin from below” during what is the most unusual city tour of Berlin: a voyage of discovery in an open metro car through the urban metro tunnels. During a discussion forum experts responded to participants’ questions relating to the scheduled “U5” construction scheme. The redevelopment of the “Ostkreuz” as the most important transport hub in Berlin commuter transportation was presented and the fire service drill facility belonging to the BVG enabled a demonstration approximating real conditions to take place. Geared to those taking part at the STUVA Conference a city tour together with a well-qualified expert displayed transport structures, which were built before and after 1990 in conjunction with the redevelopment of downtown Berlin. The underground link to the rail network was the main topic tackled during the excursion to Berlin Brandenburg International Airport and the production of modern rail vehicles presented at Bombardier’s biggest engineering and manufacturing plant in Germany.
A new record was established at the 2-day exhibition accompanying the Conference: this time around more than 2,000 net m² was taken by 130 firms from home and abroad to present products and services from the fields of contracting, sub-contracting, planning and consultation. The entire exhibition area was sold out weeks in advance.