With the constant growth of urban populations worldwide (more than 60 million inhabitants per year), the need for tunneling and underground constructions is booming, as the following figures show. In Europe indeed, the length for operational transportation tunnels currently exceeds 15,000 km, and the global perspectives for the tunneling industry are considerable, with a volume of 2,100 km of tunnels built in the upcoming years. In South-Eastern Europe (SEE) notably, the development of infrastructures is of outmost importance for reviving economic and industrial sectors.
To help meet some of the need for education, as well as putting key tunnel industry leaders in touch with the region’s executives, the International Tunneling Association hosted its 41st annual World Tunnel Congress (WTC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia, May 22-28.
The results were a success.
WTC kicked off with more than 1,500 attendees representing more than 70 countries. The technical program featured just under 400 lectures, and the sold out exhibition space boasted 140 booths.
WTC brings together public officials, designers, builders, subcontractors, engineering service firms, professors and students. Participants will also have the opportunity to exchange technical information, present new products and services and debate on the challenges of underground construction.
The congress theme was “Promoting Tunneling in the SEE Region” and illustrated the importance of tunneling in counteracting problems due to traffic congestion, flooding, transportation, and the preservation of the environment, as well as keeping surface areas available for other projects such as leisure activities.
The opening ceremony featured welcome addresses by Davorin Kolic, president of the Croatian Association for Tunnels and Underground Structures, Soren Dign Eskesen (Denmark), ITA president, and Prof. Pieter Lunardi, who delivered the annual Muir Wood Lecture.
Other hallmarks of the WTC include working group meetings, the general assembly of member nations and training courses that take place throughout the event. The annual banquet concluded the main program on Wednesday, May, 27.
WTC 2016 heads to the United States April 22-28 in San Francisco. For more information visit http://www.wtc2016.us/