Welcome to T&TI’s annual “World Profile of Tunnelling Contractors & Consulting Engineers”. Now a regular January fixture, the listing once again provides a more comprehensive insight into tunnelling activities around the world than you will find in any other publication.

Thanks to all the contractors and consultants who took the time to submit details of their current workloads and recently completed projects. It’s reassuring to see that, by and large, from the contractors point, the ‘tunnel contracts under way’ boxes are veritably brimming with projects, often containing many more entries than in the recently completed boxes. Hopefully this is a sign that we are looking in pretty good shape for the future and a reflection of the fact that the underground option is gaining support.

The consultants section looks in equally good health, with more and more large scale tunnel projects on the drawing board ranging from road, rail, metro, water and sewage tunnels. This current surge of work, that looks set to continue, shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Population numbers are continuing to explode internationally at an alarming rate and existing infrastructure systems are frequently beginning to prove inadequate.

When the surface space runs out, its comforting to know that we in the tunnelling industry have the talent and the tools to provide a safe and workable alternative.

Tris Thomas