“Tunnelling is evident in every part of people’s lives from water supply and sewerage, road and rail transportation, power, and even underground cabling for communication and internet coverage,” says Ron Tluczek, senior associate – geotechnical engineer at GIBB. He was recently recognised by his peers on an international podium for his contribution to the geotechnical engineering sector.

His efforts have resulted in his appointment as vice-animateur for working group 2 (research) at the International Tunnelling Association (ITA), in San Francisco, USA.

Tluzcek is also the South African National Committee on Tunnelling (SANCOT) chair, which was formed in 1973 during a phase of extensive infrastructure development in South Africa, in particular the construction of the Orange-Fish tunnel.

ITA currently comprises 71 member nations and 310 affiliate members, with the common objective of utilising subsurface for the benefit of public, environment and sustainable development, as well as to promote advances in planning, design, construction, maintenance and safety of tunnels and underground space.

Both ITA and SANCOT have been instrumental in the geotechnical landscape, improving tunnelling across the continent.

“I am thrilled about the next three years and look forward contributing to the success of my working group in ITA. As a vice-animateur, my role entails provision of leadership as well as instilling team spirit and enthusiasm in my working group,” says Tluczek.

“In the past year, my working group produced a research paper that focused on site investigation requirements during the life cycle of any tunnelling project. The objective was to help clients appreciate the benefits of a well planned and executed site investigation. It is hoped that this will help improve how tunnelling projects are accepted across the world.”