WTC 2017 and the 43rd General Assembly of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA) in Bergen, Norway had a family reunion feel about it. For the third time, following 1986 and 2002, the Norwegian Tunnelling Society (NFF), made preparations and welcomed the ITA and international delegates to the annual gathering of professionals and the ExCo, Committees and Working Groups of the ITA.WTC2017 proceedings in action
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway opened the congress proceedings at the Grieg Concert Hall in Bergen and toured a sold out hall of exhibitors. In his opening address, the Crown Prince highlighted the vital importance of tunnels for connectivity across Norway, connecting cities by road and rail through the mountains and providing fixed links between islands beneath the fjords along the country’s spectacular coastline.
In his keynote to the 1,500 strong delegation ITA President Tarcisio Celestino of Brazil documented the connection of Norway with the foundation and continuing development of the Association and of the international tunnelling profession. It was in Oslo in 1974 that the original articles of association were discussed and agreed by representatives of the first member nation societies of the ITA. A slide of the original copy of signatures at that first meeting was presented and two of those original delegates were in the WTC2017 opening ceremony audience – Dr Einar Broch of Norway who was also President of the ITA from 1986 – 1989, and Willie De Lathauwer of Belgium who has attended almost every ITA Congress and General Assembly since the first in Washington DC in the USA in 1975.