McGinley | Longest tunnel in Europe construction will need exceptional recruitment
An interim report by Highways England that looked into linking the cities of Manchester and Sheffield has unveiled an ambitious plan in which this could be realised, namely a road with a tunnel section and a rail link.
The interim report reveals a plan for the construction of a road between 40 and 50km in length, including a tunnelled section of 20-30km. If constructed, this tunnel will be “one of the longest road tunnels ever built”, according to the report. The feasibility of this looks promising, with Highways England reasoning that the ground conditions underneath the Pennines make it suitable to construct a long tunnel using both the conventional drilling and blasting method, and high-performance tunnel boring machines (TBMs) if necessary.
The scheme needs further investigation, which Highways England says will happen during an in-depth study to be published in autumn 2016. For now, this interim report shows that Highways England already has great ambition for the Trans-Pennine route. McGinley Support Services, infrastructure recruitment specialists including highways, rail and tunnelling, supports the project’s aims and recommends that workforce is a key consideration for the next study.
As a workforce recruitment provider of all three transportation considerations, McGinley believes that the next report will provide more insight into what the workforce requirements will be.
Sean McGinley, Business Support Director from McGinley Support Services said, “The project will have to be carefully managed to ensure that a number of aspects are mitigated as much as possible, including damage to the environment, traffic congestion and delays to the public. Safety will also be a key consideration in a tunnel of this exceptional length, both when constructing the tunnel and operating it once the project is complete.
“In terms of workforce, it will be important to recruit specialists in a number of areas, such as TBM operators, fitters and electricians, as well as senior civil engineers and construction management staff to oversee the project holistically. In order to provide the safest and most efficient solution, the workforce must be equipped with a wide variety of skills and be prepared to adapt and develop over the years to cater for such a wide civil engineering scope.”
“The Trans-Pennine route is great for the North, and we are looking forward to seeing this project progress further.”