Hero Image: of Largest Sub-Sea Road Tunnel in Hong Kong

Golder’s Tunnelling Expertise Gains Global Recognition at Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure Awards 2020

Leading global engineering and consulting firm Golder is a winner at the 2020 Year in Infrastructure Awards – a global competition open to Bentley software users across all forms of infrastructure projects and stages, including design, construction and operations.

Golder is recognised in the geotechnical engineering category for its contribution to the safe, cost-effective and timely development of the ‘Southern Landfall’ section of the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link (TM-CLKL), the deepest, longest and largest subsea road tunnel ever built in Hong Kong.

The strategic transport link will alleviate traffic congestion and shorten the journey between Hong Kong’s Northwest New Territories and the Hong Kong International Airport via a 4.1 km dual, two-lane subsea tunnel, resulting in social, economic, and environmental benefits.

“The Year in Infrastructure Awards had impressive finalists from among our global peers, so we’re very proud that our work was recognised,” said Tom Henderson, Partner and Regional Leader for Golder in Hong Kong, Singapore, and China. “This accolade is a credit to the technical excellence and innovation our people bring to projects and clients and underscores our proven track record of using digital engineering tools to provide cost-effective construction solutions to underground projects.”

Over the four-year project, Golder provided specialist geotechnical services for the ‘Southern Landfall’ section of the project, overcoming the significant challenges posed by complex geotechnical conditions in soft compressible ground and high ground water pressure.

The Golder team, led by Dr Siew Wei Lee and Dr Andy Pickles, Principals and Directors at Golder in Hong Kong, combined its deep expertise in geotechnical analysis and risk mitigation with the use of digital engineering tools including Bentley’s gINT, HoleBASE (Keynetix), MicroStation and PLAXIS to model and analyse the complex interactions between the ground conditions, design of the tunnels and geo-structures, and the construction processes.

In particular, using PLAXIS 3D Golder optimised the design for the tunnel-stabilising barrettes, both in quantity and dimensions. The original design required 158 barrettes of 19.2 m in length; however, Golder was able to safely reduce this requirement to 106 barrettes, of which 46 were shortened by almost 3 m. This saved approximately USD 16 million and two months of construction time and avoided 1500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Golder’s involvement was critical for the successful design of the ‘plug’ to secure watertightness when the tunnel boring machine (TBM) began and ended its tunnelling ‘drive’ through the Southern Landfall, breaking into and out of the cut-and-cover tunnel and southern ventilation shaft structures. Golder also determined the appropriate slurry pressure (or face support pressure) needed to maintain stability during tunnelling at the Southern Landfall.

The Award ceremony was broadcast on 21 October following the Year in Infrastructure ‘Going Digital’ 2020 Conference, held for the first time in a virtual format. Golder was one of 57 finalists selected from in excess of 400 nominations across 19 categories, representing more than 330 organisations from over 60 countries.

The TM-CLKL tunnel won the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA) Major Project of the Year (over €500M) Award 2019.

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