The International Tunnelling Association held its 24th Annual Meeting in São Paulo (Brazil) from April 25 to April 30, in conjunction with the World Tunnel Congress '98 organised by the Brazilian Committee of Tunnelling. The meeting was attended by representatives, delegates, observers and working group members from 35 of the 45 Member Nations of the Association.


The Association has registered the membership of 24 new Affiliate Members (2 Corporate Members and 22 Individual Members), taking the total to 45 Member Nations and 261 Affiliate Members (84 Corporate Members and 177 Individual Members).


Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology:

The journal is now in its thirteenth year of publication. Volume 12 featured 21 papers representing authors from 14 countries, and a special issue on immersed tunnels. Volume 13 will include a special issue on fire and life safety. We have received a great number of suggestions from editorial board members and national correspondents.


Since last year, 4 issues of Tribune have been published. We have systematised the principle of focus on a country and have a focus on Japan, Switzerland and Brazil. The average circulation has been around 3,000 copies per issue.


The Open Session was devoted to "The Contribution of Small-Sized Tunnels for the Development of Metropolises". After the presentation by Kalyan Ray from UNCHS, specific examples were presented for the following metropolises: Johannesburg, Delhi, São Paulo, Tokyo and Paris. A more general intervention was made by R. Bielecki, President of the International Society for Trenchless Technology on the interest of this solution. The main headline coming out of these interventions were:

  • the extremely important role played by water management, wether it is for permanent energy provision, drinking water distribution, evacuation of used water by way of sewers, collectors, etc, or transport means for all kind of materials,
  • the need for a fair competition between the cut-and-cover solution and the trenchless solution; in any case, all elements, including social costs in the broadest sense, have to be taken into account.


ITA is pursuing active co-operation with the United Nations: Kalyan Ray (UNCHS) participated in the Open Session. In his keynote address, he highlighted the increasing importance of utilising underground space and tunnels in the future development of cities. In this context, he pointed out the great relevance of the activities of ITA through information, education and strategic studies. Addressing the financing challenge, he emphasised the urgent need for creating an enabling environment by governments for increased private sector participation in the creation and the operation of that infrastructure needed for economic development.


ITA confirms the excellent relationships with its "sister organisations", especially the World Road Association (PIARC) with which a joint working group has been formed for the study of protection in case of fire of road tunnel structures. A joint group has also been formed with the International Society for Trenchless Technology (ISTT) on the following topics:

  • social costs, including the choice between the open cut and the trenchless solutions, underground mapping and
  • risk management for underground works.


  • Oslo (Norway) from May 29 to June 3, 1999, during the ITA-AITES 1999 World Tunnel Congress: "Underground Construction for the Future".
  • Durban (South Africa) from May 13 to 18, 2000, during the ITA-AITES 2000 World Tunnel Congress "Tunnels under Pressure".
  • Milan (Italy) during the ITA-AITES 2001, World Tunnel Congress "Progress in Tunnelling after 2000" organised by Italy and Switzerland.