Technical Sessions

This intensive technical program at George Fox packs a ton of valuable tunneling and underground construction content just one day. Explore the program details below.

9:10 am – 9:55 am

Keynote - Design and Construction of The Femern Link between Denmark and Germany
Kim Smedegaard Andersen,Technical Deputy Director & Contract Director,
Fehmarn Immersed Tunnel

This presentation will be based on the design and construction of the 18 km long Femern Link immersed tunnel project between Denmark and Germany. This is currently the longest sub-sea tunnel under construction in the world today. When completed the tunnel will connect Scandinavia with Central Europe with both rail and highway links.

Mr. Andersen will address various aspects of this international project inclusive of the political challenges associated with securing approval and funding as the project was agreed in a state treaty in December 2008 between the Kingdom of Denmark and the Federal Republic of Germany. The presentation will address the funding and planning mechanisms associated with taking a complex tunnel project from the conceptual stage, to planning, to the start of construction. An update on the current status of the project will be provided.

The complex geological conditions in the Fehmarnbelt Channel and associated challenges in which the immersed tunnel will be constructed will be presented. The tunnel will be a single immersed tube 48 meters (158 feet) wide that will house four separate compartments; one northbound two-lane highway, one southbound two-lane highway, one northbound heavy rail, and one southbound heavy rail compartments plus ventilation and emergency egress pathways. The presentation will address the structural and environmental design challenges associated with such a structure inclusive of fire life safety requirements.

Mr. Anderson will present how and where the large immersed tube elements will be manufactured, floated to the construction site then placed in the trench cut in the sea floor. Immersed tube tunnel construction is not commonplace in North America thus the presentation should be educational and informative to all attendees. There will be a Q & A session after the presentation.

About the Speaker
Kim Smedegaard Andersen, CEO, Sund & Bælt Partner A/S


CEO, Sund & Bælt Partner A/
Technical Deputy Director and Contract Director, Femern Immersed Tunne
Design Manager, the Femern Immersed Tunnel Projec
Pihl & Søn, Multimedia House in the harbour of Copenhagen, Design & Buil
Rambøll, Project Manager, The Opera House in Copenhagen

9:55 am – 10:30 am
Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Expansion
Jim Utterback, Project Director, Virginia Department of Transportation

This presentation will briefly cover the history of tunneling in Hampton Roads Virginia. Then look into the challenges with expanding an Interstate Bridge Tunnel Facility that crosses one of the busiest commercial and military deep water harbors on the east coast of the United States. The presentation will conclude with a “bird’s eye” look at the Owner’s decision process in determining scope, funding, procurement strategy and timeline for the project.

About the Speaker

Jim Utterback, Project Director, Virginia Department of Transportation

Jim is the Project Director of the $3.8 billion Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Jim has 34 years combined public and private sector professional experience. He has managed a diverse portfolio of large complex programs and projects ranging from $485M to more than $4.5B. He developed and delivered one of Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) largest regional transportation construction programs totaling over $1.1B of primarily Design-Build projects. Jim is recognized for developing VDOT’s first transportation Design-Build project in 2004 and instituted a number of VDOT’s Design-Build practices still in place today.

Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Military Institute and a master’s degree in business from Webster University.

11:00 am – 11:40 am
The Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel Replacement Project
Raymond Sandiford, V.P. - Geotechnical and Foundation Practice Leader, HNTB, William Prosser, Director Portfolio Manager, Amtrak

The existing Baltimore & Potomac (B&P) Tunnel is a two-track railroad tunnel running beneath central Baltimore City. Built in 1873, the tunnel is among the oldest (~150 years) infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and is approaching the end of its useful life. Its obsolete design creates a low-speed (30 MPH) bottleneck on the Northeast Corridor (NEC). A new tunnel facility is currently in design that includes of four new high-speed (80 to 100 MPH) tunnels. The planning for the new facility involved comprehensive environmental evaluation with stakeholders, including community groups, MARC, MDOT, CSX and NS. The tunnel alignments will traverse mixed face conditions at each portal and hard-rock conditions for most of the running tunnels. The project also includes sizable ventilation and egress tunnels which are offset from the main alignment to avoid an historic district. Complicating the construction, the tunnels will pass beneath an operating light rail station, a subway tunnel and the NEC. The project length is approximately 3.5 miles with about two miles in tunnel. The balance of the project includes the approaches to the tunnel which requires reconstructing above ground railroad infrastructure as well as interfacing with municipal infrastructure to graft the new tunnel facility into the existing NEC.

About the Speaker

Raymond Sandiford, V.P. - Geotechnical and Foundation Practice Leader, HNTB

Raymond Sandiford is an Associate Vice President with HNTB and the firm’s Geotechnical and Foundation Practice Leader. Ray has been a design engineer for nearly 40 years. He has authored technical papers on a broad range of subjects, including: subgrade construction, soft ground construction, subsurface geophysical investigations, pile foundation behavior, and soil improvement. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the States of New York and New Jersey, and received his Bachelor’s Degree from SUNY at Stony Brook and his Master’s Degree from Columbia University. Ray is a Fellow with the American Society of Civil Engineers, a member of the Deep Foundations Institute, a member of the Moles, and a visiting instructor at Princeton University.

William Prosser, Director Portfolio Manager, Amtrak

William (Bill) Prosser is a Director of Portfolio Management in the Engineering Department of Amtrak. Bill has been involved in design and heavy construction for over 25 years. One of his charges has been the structural integrity of the existing Amtrak tunnels under the East and Hudson Rivers. Currently, he is leading the facilities development efforts for the new Acela program, while managing the B&P Tunnel program. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Drexel University.

11:40 am – 12:15 pm
Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel Project
David Chastka, Project Manager, Kenny / Obayashi JV

A dual mode Rock/EPB TBM, 9.26m diameter bore was used for the first time in North America to excavate the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel (OCIT) in the downtown Akron. Tunneling was carried-out at a uniform slope of 0.15 percent through ground conditions that consisted of soft ground, mixed face soft ground over bedrock, and bedrock. The Mixed Transitional Ground (MTG) resulted in the biggest challenge for the TBM. This presentation will specifically address the issues encountered during the TBM excavation and the lessons learned along the way..

About the Speaker

David Chastka, Project Manager, Kenny / Obayashi JV

Mr. Chastka was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area and started in the tunneling industry in 2004 after receiving his Civil Engineering degree at Virginia Tech. He has spent his 15 year career in the tunnel industry seeking out some of the largest projects in the United States. David has completed projects from the mines of Utah to underneath Grand Central Terminal in the heart of Manhattan. Through his career he has managed all aspects of the tunneling world including TBM, roadheader, and drill and blast excavation.

1:20 pm – 2:00 pm
Tunnel Industry Update
Jim Rush, Editor, Tunnel Business Magazine
2:00 pm – 2:35 pm
Design and Construction The Plymouth SEM Tunnel
Jean-Marc Wehrli, Construction Manager, Traylor
David Watson, Principal Project Manager, Mott MacDonald

The Plymouth Tunnel, part of the Light Rail Transit Purple Line Project for the Maryland Transit Administration is a short section of the 16 mile route that is approximately 1220-feet in length, with a shallow vertical alignment located beneath a residential area. Challenging mixed ground conditions include surficial soils, decomposed saprolite, highly weathered to un-weathered rock. This presentation will discuss some of the design and construction aspects, highlighting items that went according to plan as well as items that were adapted or changed during construction to suit the conditions encountered.

About the Speaker

Jean–Marc Wehrli, Construction Manager, Traylor

Jean-Marc is employed by Traylor Bros., Inc. a specialty heavy civil contractor well-known and respected in the industry. Established in 1946, Traylor currently has several active underground, bridge, and marine projects across North America and has received many awards for their successful work.

Jean-Marc attended the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland where he received a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering in 1996 with a specialty in Underground Construction. Immediately following graduation, Jean-Marc began working in the tunneling industry. He has over 20 years of underground construction experience working for contractors on major tunneling projects in Southeast Asia and the United States. His experience includes soft ground tunneling by EPB and Slurry TBM as well as conventional excavation by SEM and drill-and-blast. He joined Traylor in 2006 and is currently the Project Manager for the underground portion of the work on the Purple Line Light Rail project in Maryland.

2:35 pm - 3:10 pm
Baltimore - Washington Maglev Program
Vojtech Gall, Principal, GALL ZEIDLER Consultants; David Henley, Project Director, Northeast Maglev

The Northeast Corridor Superconducting Maglev Project (SCMAGLEV) entails construction of a high-speed train system between Washington, D.C. and New York City, with the first leg between Washington and Baltimore, MD. The system operates using an electromagnetic levitation system developed and deployed in Japan that achieves an operating speed of 500 km/h. SCMAGLEV is an innovative project that will shorten travel times between Washington D.C. and Baltimore to 15 minutes, and connect to New York City in under an hour. In 2019, the design is being advanced to an engineering level sufficient to support an Environmental Impact Statement. A preliminary geotechnical investigation campaign was also underway. This paper provides an update on the project and discusses construction of the predominantly soft ground TBM driven tunnels.

About the Speaker

Vojtech Gall, Principal, GALL ZEIDLER Consultants

Dr. Gall has over thirty years of experience in the design, construction, and construction management of tunnels and underground structures. His expertise encompasses soft-ground, mixed-face, and rock-tunneling utilizing TBM, conventional tunneling (SEM/NATM), and cut-and-cover techniques.

He frequently serves on expert review panels dedicated to the investigation and improvement of tunneling schemes ranging from initial inception stages through final design development at bid document level. His peer review services relate to a wide variety of facilities ranging from hydro-power schemes in remote settings to complex transit structures in urban settings.

He is a Principal of Gall Zeidler Consultants, a firm specializing in geotechnics, tunnel engineering and tunnel consulting. He has authored over 50 technical publications on the subject of tunneling and lectured extensively on the implementation of modern tunneling techniques.

Notable projects include:

– East Side Access, New York
– Alto Maipo Hydropower Scheme, Santiago, Chile
– California Highspeed Rail
– Silverline Metro Extension, Washington, DC
– Gateway Tunnel Program, New York

David Henley, Project Director, Northeast Maglev

David Henley serves as Project Director at Northeast Maglev, for deployment of the Baltimore to Washington segment of the high-speed superconducting maglev (SCMAGLEV) train in the Northeast Corridor. Mr. Henley brings three decades of experience in all aspects of transportation management and financing – from managing multi-billion-dollar capital programs to implementing a range of high profile infrastructure projects.

Prior to joining Northeast Maglev, he served as Vice President of Capital Planning & Budget for NYC Transit (NYCT), directing investment strategies in the scoping, designing, building and rehabilitating of NYCT’s vast and complex rail and bus infrastructure. Previously, Mr. Henley served as the Director of Business Development at Parsons Transportation Group, managing the company’s strategies to increase its portfolio and market presence in all transportation sectors. Throughout his career, he has also held senior level transportation-related positions with the NYC Department of Transportation, the Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Ports and Trade.

3:40 pm – 4:20 pm
Challenges of Increasing Clearance in the Howard Street Tunnel
Verya Nasri, Global Tunnel Lead, AECOM

The Howard Street Tunnel is considered part of a major freight link servicing the east coast. The tunnel was originally constructed to provide two tracks but is currently servicing a single track. The objective of the Howard Street Tunnel Clearance Project is to obtain a double stack vertical clearance envelope throughout the Howard Street Tunnel. The Howard Street Tunnel currently has a minimum vertical clearance of 19'-4" but a vertical clearance of 21'-0" should be achieved by lowering the track profile and/or structural modifications. The additional clearance would allow shipping containers from the port of Baltimore, for the first time, to be stacked two-high atop trains, a far more efficient way to move them. The possible solutions for increasing the clearance inside the tunnel are track lowering, structural modifications, or a combination thereof. Track lowering without structural modifications is preferred due to its lower cost, faster construction, and minimal risk but it will not be sufficient alone to provide the required clearance along most of the tunnel. The structural modifications include cutting the arch and/or invert of the tunnel in order to increase its clear height. This presentation discusses several conventional and innovative methods for the enlargement of the Howard Street Tunnel.

About the Speaker

Verya Nasri, Global Tunnel Lead, AECOM

Global Tunnel Lead, AECOM, PhD in Structural and Geotechnical Engineering from Ecole Centrale Paris, Former Senior Tunnel Engineer, French Railway Company, More than 150 journal and conference papers, mainly in tunneling, Representative projects: Second Avenue Subway, New York, Réseau Express Métropolitain, Montreal, Franco-Italian transalpine railway tunnel (Lyon-Turin), Paris express subway (EOLE).

4:20 pm – 5:00 pm
The Bypass Tunnel: Excavation Complete
Danny Smith, General Superintendent, Kiewit-Shea-Constructors JV
Niels Kofoed, Tunnel Manager, Kiewit-Shea-Constructors JV
Ted Dowey, Acting Portfolio Manager, Bureau of Engineering Design & Construction NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection

The challenges of bad rock and high pressure water inflows have been successfully overcome with the completion of the excavation of the Bypass Tunnel. New technologies and advances in probe drilling are detailed. The results of the cores obtained through the face of the TBM and geology are examined. The pre-excavation grouting technologies, mixes, and results are presented. Dewatering, forecast and actual water handling methods are illustrated. The team: DEP, Parsons, McMillen Jacobs, Kiewit?Shea, Robbins, the local craft, how they made it happen is presented.

About the Speaker

Danny Smith, General Superintendent, Kiewit-Shea-Constructors JV

Danny Smith is a General Superintendent with Kiewit?Shea Constructors, AJV. Danny attended Western State College and upon completion of his studies started working in the tunneling industry. He has nearly 30 years of underground construction experience and has worked on major tunnel projects across the United States and Puerto Rico. His experience includes multiple tunnel projects using mechanical excavation by TBM and Roadheaders as well as extensive experience with traditional drill and blast excavation of shafts and tunnels and placing of cast in place tunnel concrete. Currently Danny is the TBM manager for the $706mil Delaware Aqueduct Bypass Tunnel Project.

Niels Kofoed, Tunnel Manager, Kiewit-Shea-Constructors JV

Niels Kofoed is a Tunnel Manager with Kiewit Shea Constructors, AJV. Niels has over 25 years of experience working in the underground construction industry and has worked on a number of large TBM tunneling projects such as the Great Belt Railway Tunnel project in Denmark, the Tren Urbano project in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Portland ESCSO tunnel project in Portland, Oregon and was most recently the TBM tunnel manager for the $706mil Delaware Aqueduct Bypass Tunnel Project. Niels has a BSCE from the Danish Technical University, Copenhagen, Denmark and a MSCE from University of Florida.

Ted Dowey, Acting Portfolio Manager, Bureau of Engineering Design & Construction NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection

Mr. Dowey has worked on water tunnels in various capacities for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for over 30 years. Mr. Dowey presently serves as Acting Portfolio Manager for the Gilboa Dam Projects. Previously Mr. Dowey was the Design Manager for the $800 million Bypass Tunnel contracts directing an in?house design and consultant staff of tunnel design engineers. Mr. Dowey started as a construction inspector and geologist and then later served as Resident Engineer and Executive Construction Manager for the construction of subterranean chambers, thousands of feet of shafts, and over 15 miles of tunnels for New York City Water Tunnel No. 3. Mr. Dowey has a BA in Geology and a MS in Mining Engineering from Columbia University, and is a New York State Professional Engineer and Professional Geologist.