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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information
CSIC wins industry recognition at International Tunnelling Awards

CSIC has won the prestigious Ground Investigation and Monitoring Award for The Smart Tunnel at the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Awards, announced yesterday at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

CSIC beat a significant number of international entries and leading organisations to secure a podium place, having been shortlisted for three separate category awards this year including Product/Equipment Innovation of the Year: Photogrammetric Monitoring of Royal Mail Tunnel and Young Tunneller of the Year - Mehdi Alhaddad, an engineer currently working on the Crossrail project and completing a PhD at CSIC.

The awards, organised by the New Civil Engineer and supported by the International Tunnelling & Underground Space Association, celebrate and reward outstanding work and innovation in the global tunnelling industry.

Jennifer Schooling, Director of CSIC, said: “We are delighted to receive this award. It's a significant achievement for CSIC to win this award for Ground Investigation and Monitoring, in competition with the best in industry. It acknowledges the strength of CSIC’s innovative approach and collaboration with industry. Our Centre works to design, develop and deliver performance measurement technologies that offer major benefits to the construction industry and this award endorses the potential of our sensing and data analysis tools.”

The Ground Investigation and Monitoring Award recognises innovation and excellence in site investigation, surveying and monitoring on tunnelling projects. Entrants had to demonstrate how innovative use of existing techniques or pioneering new technology improved the investigation to deliver a high level of site information for the client.

CSIC deployed a team of researchers to install four different pioneering monitoring devices inside a 40-metre stretch of the disused, 100 year-old Royal Mail railway tunnel. These included Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) displacement transducers, fibre optic strain sensors and photogrammetric monitoring. CSIC’s combined instrumentation created the world’s first ‘smart tunnel’ capable of measuring and monitoring the structural performance and stress levels of the older tunnel as the new, giant Crossrail tunnel was excavated below.

Presenting the awards, Mark Hansford, Editor of New Civil Engineer, described CSIC’s work as “demonstrating a fantastic and innovative approach, showing excellent benefits in the quality and accuracy of assessing tunnelling behavior adjacent to other underground work”.

He added: "Look at the line up of projects shortlisted here today and you can see the brilliance of this industry – its ability to innovate, find solutions to tough problems, and fundamentally – crack on regardless."

Mehdi Alhaddad, part of the CSIC Smart Tunnel team, said: “Apart from the joy that comes from winning this award we are even more excited about the opportunities that our tools can provide to industry. Winning this award means the technology we have developed at CSIC has caught the eye of the people who set best practice standards in industry and that CSIC is contributing to the advancement of monitoring and maintaining the country’s infrastructure and assets.”

CSIC would like to thank its Industry Partners ARUP, CH2M HILL, iMETRUM and Royal Mail, owner of the railway tunnel.

Photo: From left Nadine Buddoo, Deputy Editor Ground Engineering, Peter Wright CH2M HILL, CSIC's Heba Bevan, Mehdi Alhaddad, Prof Robert Mair, C. Y. Gue, Matt Wilcock and Mark Hansford, Editor New Civil Engineer.

For more information see and @TunnelAwards.

To read more about CSIC’s smart tunnel click here.

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