ITA Nordic Forum Symposium. Copenhagen 28-29, October, 2013

ITA Nordic Forum regular meeting took place on 28th - 29th  October, 2013 in Copenhagen. As usual, specialists in underground space development from Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Canada attended the event.
   Russia joined them this year. By the invitation of Finnish specialist, an active participant of ITACUS, Ilkka Vahaaho, who chaired the meeting before, Sergei Alpatov, Association of Underground Builders CEO, represents Russian specialists.  

    At the present moment ITA president Soren Eskesen is in the chair. Mr. Eskesen personally took part in organization of the symposium and also reported on recent ITA activities, he especially emphasized the increased number of specialists from Nordic Forum member-countries in its Board.  It is the evidence that those specialists’ competence is at a high level.

   Nordic Forum members usually gather to discuss current and future projects in their respectful countries, underground construction issues and related ones: legislation issues, town-planning, environment issues, comfort of life in the cities.  Each report goes with the slides, contains facts and figures, but it also leads to a discussion on the matter, questions regarding technologies and statistics for different structures in all countries.
   Consequently these meetings are not only for informative purposes, but also help exchange of ideas with a future possibilities for cooperation.

   Nordic Forum countries have similar climate conditions, it helps them to solve effectively some common issues together. Often Northern European specialists work in different neighbor countries.  Certain questions regarding town-planning, economic, administrative and legislation issues require not only discussion but also data collecting, it being easier to accomplish within small associations with common geographical characteristics.        
Here in Copenhagen Sergei Alpatov suggested renewing the comparison study results for different countries legislations.  ITA attempted this kind of survey first about 20 years ago.  The idea gained the support of foreign colleagues. Such a survey could help to solve the administrative and legislation issues in Northern European countries, Canada and Russia. 

  Successful examples of improving in this field could simplify for neighbor countries the process of   making suggestions for legislation changes regarding underground construction,   cut administrative barriers, cut amount of time required for authorization. It is a common knowledge that at present the procedure of authorization for underground construction is elongated with different administrative stages.   

     Foreign colleagues’ experience, being positive or negative, could facilitate speeding up of decision making, that is relevant for Russian specialists issues.  
    Also Sergei Alpatov made a report on short-term plans of Saint Petersburg underground metro system. development.  Foreign colleagues became acquainted with unique technologies used for underground construction in Saint Petersburg.  In their turn, Russian specialists are interested in technologies used in the cities of Northern Europe and Canada, with those countries being among most progressive in terms of integrated underground space use due to geological conditions, high level of performed work, highly developed infrastructure.

    In course of symposium each country presented a report on current and upcoming projects.  Canada registers the increasing numbers of hydroelectric tunnels, also the whole scope of underground works growth with each year.   Iceland specialists, with critical conditions being in place, are constructing several road tunnels. In Denmark Fehmarn Belt Tunnel is under discussion. This tunnel will connect Denmark and Germany and will be similar to the tunnel which is part of Oresund bridge, connecting Denmark and Sweden.  Also being completed it would be the longest immersed tunnel in the world.  In Stockholm, Sweden, new bypass is under construction, 18 km long tunnel will be a part of it. Also rail road in the center of the city to be renewed, with two additional stations and a tunnel of 6 km length being constructed.  It will increase traffic capacity more than ten times. Norway introduced  a lot of tunnels at work and coastal future project, including tunnels and bridges, new solutions for water and frost protection. National Transport Plan 2013-2013 includes a significant amount for underground construction. Thus specialists in the industry will be highly in-demand. With industry growing for 4% annual, there will be 10 000 vacant position each year. According to statistics provided by Secretary General,  excluding 2009,  common length of constructed tunnels in Norway growth each year. Number of contractors doubled for the last ten years. As it appears from statistics in 70-80s the great amount of hydro electrical tunnels were constructed, while in the late 80es and late more road and rail tunnels were constructed.  Norwegian Tunnelling Society marked its 50th anniversary this year.

   The second day of ITA Nordic Forum participants visited several technical sites in Copenhagen. Danish specialists introduced new road tunnel under existing rails, which is a part of fly-over intersection, and also different stage of new metro line construction.
Copenhagen metro is a most advanced in the world. Completely created in 21th century, with a not long terms of maintenance, it is the best European metro system according to MetroRail conference of 2008.
  Site preparation in the center of the city now is in order for further construction with TBM. Work is in progress in accordance with noise level regulations and environmental surveillance.  

  Danish specialists successfully perform not only in their native country but also take participation in great projects in the neighbor countries like Sweden. Their experience and experience of their colleagues from Canada and other North European countries is a subject of a great interest for Russian underground builders.