Wednesday, 31 January 2018

"A Bridge Over Troubled Water"? Why does our foreign secretary want an alternative route?: #Eurotunnel #Brexit


 

I spent some years in a "semi-fugue" state (the second a time I've been "out there", a few scares since -and it's always there "hovering"-, but no long term immersion in that "other" world), during the nineteen nineties ("nuff said" right now no-names-no-pack-drill), and had an number of strange or unusual encounters during this time. One notable encounter was when a good female friend took me to meet an engineer/architect who was at that time living in a top-floor flat in a Herbert Collins designed (see pic, unfortunately I couldn't find one of this far more Art Nouveau set of apartments -unusual for Collins because of their height -, I'm not sure but very possibly his only three-four floor development), block in Portswood Southampton.

I was having problems communicating (a very notable and usual component of the experience), but on academic subjects I could still be coherent. We talked about the engineer's work decommissioning nuclear reactors and also the plans he knew of to build a bridge across the Straits of Gibraltar. Standing on the roof of the block we all four (his partner was also there), looked over to Southampton water with our breath taken by both the view and the notion of the bridge that would be required (and as he intimated at the time the politics would have to be right for a bridge across the Mediterranean to be considered and as we know they haven't been since). The thought of a bridge across The Channel sprang immediately to my mind (unsurprisingly as I have never liked the "Chunnel" esp. as it was necessary to desecrate/destroy one of the only neolithic-bronze age sites in the region to build it -and "notwithstanding" the deaths which occurred during its construction-), I had written a poem about it some years earlier (this and other issues like the Iran-Iraq war), that I submitted to a competition (it was slated!). Since then I have watched events and news concerning the Tunnel with both interest and considerable concern.
"Eurotunnel" doesn't belong to we Brits anymore, its been sold-off, hardly a flagship project and although rarely of benefit to any but the middle and upper income groups we still intend to put all the HS2 eggs in its basket.

Quote; "Two Canadian pension funds are to pay a higher-than-expected £2.1bn for the right to run the UK’s only dedicated high-speed rail line, in the first significant privatisation of the new coalition government.
Philip Hammond, transport secretary, described the sale of a 30-year concession for High Speed One to Borealis Infrastructure and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, announced on Friday, as “great news for taxpayers and rail passengers alike”."...
Go to: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/be77b8d4-e8cc-11df-a383-00144feab49a.html#axzz34F7WsF2F

"Quote; ""Recently, an earthquake occurred along the English Channel
coast, with its epicentre at Folkestone in Kent, at
8.28 a.m. (local time) on 28 April 2007. The local earthquake
magnitude was estimated by the British Geological Survey
as 4.2ML (Walker and Musson, 2007) and no discernible
affect was reported on the sea. However, worryingly, a local
news outlet reported that coastal residents on feeling the
tremor “started rushing out from their houses and on to the
beach for safety” (Kent News, 2007)! This highlights the
need to assess the threat from tsunami and associated hazards
in Britain and, if appropriate, raise public awareness of
the potential hazards."

from http://dyscovery.newport.ac.uk/

According to "The Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences Organisation" (go to.... http://www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci.net/8/587/2008/nhess-8-587-2008.pdf ), siesmic events either in or on either side of The Channel are historically far from rare! " Go to http://gkhales.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/has-integrity-of-channel-tunnel-always.html"...

"Quote; "Geological profile along the tunnel as constructed. For most of its length the tunnel bores through a chalk marl stratum (layer)*
Successful tunnelling required a sound understanding of the topography and geology and the selection of the best rock strata through which to tunnel. The geology generally consists of northeasterly dipping Cretaceous strata, part of the northern limb of the Wealden-Boulonnais dome. Characteristics include:"...  

 
"Quote; "Turkey’s New Undersea Tunnel Is Built to Resist Earthquakes
How engineers made a train tunnel that connects two continents

When designing the tunnel, engineers had to take into account its proximity to the active North Anatolian Fault, which lies about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away. Activity along this 930-mile (1,500-kilometer) fault system resulted in a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey in 1999, killing tens of thousands of people.
"The earthquake hazard really drove the design of the project," said Joseph Wartman, a civil engineering professor at the University of Washington in Seattle who was not involved with the project but has studied its progress due to his work on earthquake-resistant design. The tunnel's engineers had to account for the possibility of earthquakes of magnitudes as large as 7.5, he said. "It's about as challenging as it gets for tunnel design."
Earthquake safety determined the sizing of the tunnel and a lot of the design details, Wartman said. "This project really posed some significant challenges to the designers. It's really pushing the boundaries of underground construction in a seismically active area."
Although earthquakes can cause a lot of shaking, that's not as much of a concern with underground tunnels, Wartman said. "They're actually some of the safest places to be, because the level of shaking is lower below the ground compared to the surface." He explained that this is due to the mechanics by which the seismic waves propagate across the ground.
"It may not be particularly intuitive that something deep is actually safer, but that's the case in this situation," he said.
Turning Solid Ground Into Liquid
The real concern during an earthquake is a phenomenon known as liquefaction, which can temporarily soften the soil surrounding the tunnel, effectively turning that soil into a liquid, Wartman said. "The soil is no longer supporting the tunnel, it's trying to dislodge it, and it can actually cause tunnels to float up," he said.
"We have seen many cases where below-ground structures such as gasoline tanks float up to the surface in an earthquake."
Jonathan Stewart, a civil engineering professor at the University of California, Los Angeles also pointed to liquefaction as a major concern for the Marmaray project, especially given the massive liquefaction observed during the 1999 earthquake in Turkey. "That's probably the single biggest threat,"
*said Stewart, who was not involved with the tunnel's design.

*Italics mine. Could liquifaction (or similar "non-impactive" stress), be a problem with regard to The Eurotunnel's structure?

Suspended Tunneling
 
Quote; "The concept of submerged floating tunnels is based on well-known technology applied to floating bridges and offshore structures, but the construction is mostly similar to that of immersed tunnels: One way is to build the tube in sections in a dry dock; then float these to the construction site and sink them into place, while sealed; and, when the sections are fixed to each other, the seals are broken. Another possibility is to build the sections unsealed, and after welding them together, pump the water out.
The ballast used is calculated so that the structure has approximate hydrostatic equilibrium (that is, the tunnel is roughly the same overall density as water), whereas immersed tube tunnels are ballasted more to weight them down to the sea bed. This, of course, means that a submerged floating tunnel must be anchored to the ground or to the water surface to keep it in place (which of these depends on which side of the equilibrium point the tunnel is). "...

"What concerns me greatly is that at the same time as The Oil Industry's baby was (possibly), pensioned off in 2010 the geological report which was produced ("pay-per-view" only), appears to have vanished.

Quote; "Channel tunnel
Ten workers died during the construction of the Channel tunnel between 1987 and 1993, most of them in the first few months during the boring of the tunnel. The Channel tunnel was a joint venture between British and French construction firms. The vast majority of the work was carried out by the British, and eight out of the 10 dead were British workers." Go to http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/thirteen-workers-die-as-safety-standards-are-ignored-in-race-to-build-olympic-sites-558698.html

I have now located a link to the British Geological Society's report on a prev. thread (I was unable to locate it via any current search engine), the report is still "pay-per-view" only but you will note that it was first published in 1997. I was given to understand that an update had indeed been undertaken, I shall check with the BGS....Go to: http://egsp.lyellcollection.org/content/12/1/327.full.pdf
 
Quote; "Archaeologists Race To Save History From Channel Tunnel Bulldozers
 
A dozen French archaeologists are racing against a swarm of bulldozers in this coastal village, trying to save precious history before it is churned to pieces by construction of the tunnel under the English Channel.

In reality, the race already is lost. According to the building schedule, only six months remain for the historians to save what they can from sites containing vestiges of paleolithic, neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Gallo- Roman, Merovingian and Medieval cultures.

Sites that normally would take years to excavate are being dug and studied in two months. The meticulous preparation through library and archives research is being put off until later. The focus is entirely on the ground, soon to be churned and destroyed.

″We know what we can’t do,″ said Jean-Claude Routier, chief of one crew working at a site on a chalk hill containing the remains of an 11th century church and an earlier burial ground. ″We select. We are starting to get used to the pressure.″

A colleague, Jean-Pierre Jorrand, uncovering a nearby Gallo-Roman site, said ″we stress recovering knowledge over artifacts.″

President Francois Mitterrand of France and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain signed an accord in January 1986 for the construction of a rail tunnel for trains to carry freight, motor vehicles and passengers in both directions. It is scheduled for completion by 1993 at an estimated cost of about $8 billion, making it the largest privately financed building project ever attempted.

Though completion is still five years away, by September the earthmovers will have torn into the entire 2,200-acre area that will be the train terminal on the French side.

The $442,000 budget for the archaeological excavations is provided jointly by the French Culture Ministry, the Anglo-French Eurotunnel building consortium, the state-run French railroad and local and regional governments.

″It’s difficult for an archaeologist to work so fast,″ says Luc Vallin, conservator of antiquities and prehistory in the Nord-Pas de Calais region of northern France as well as field director here. ″It’s really rescue archaeology.″

The historians started working on an archaeological report in the autumn of 1985, before the tunnel accord was signed. The report was completed in March 1986, but archaeological work was delayed while a financing agreement was worked out.

Prospecting for potential digging sites began, with money advanced by Eurotunnel, in September 1986, even before the budget agreement was reached. Aerial surveys were made. Mechanical shovels dug swaths across the ground in areas of potential archaeological value.

Twenty sites were selected.

Some excavation began in June 1987, but work really didn’t get moving strongly until December.

″At one site, if we could have excavated it completely, we could have reconstructed entire Gaullish houses,″ said Vallin. ″As it was, we had to content ourselves with what could be saved.″

Archaeologists know very little about the Gallo-Roman era in this region, roughly from Boulogne to the Belgian border. Rural life in the medieval period also is a subject of great interest.

″Perhaps it’s in the medieval period that we are finding the most exciting material, and in protohistory,″ the Bronze and Iron ages, Vallin said" Go to: https://apnews.com/article/e2c21416178ddb68a0c1bf87667e57ae

for full article.

"Eurostar rail stake touted for sale by UK government"
go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29588412

Winchester earthquake: Tremor felt in Hampshire

Quote; "An earthquake with a magnitude of 2.9 has been recorded in Hampshire, the British Geological Survey has confirmed.
Postings on social media reported buildings in the Winchester area shaking following a tremor shortly after 18:30 GMT.
A police spokeswoman said no injuries or serious damage had been reported.
Matthew Emery, from South Wonston, near Winchester described the experience as "almost as if Concorde had flown over".
The British Geological Survey (Bgs) reported a tremor at a depth of 3km (1.9miles) at Headbourne Worthy, just north east of Winchester.
BGS Seismologist David Galloway said the UK experienced about 10 quakes of such a size each year which were "usually quite widely felt around the area"..
""the whole bed was visibly shaking" as well as one who said the earthquake sounded "like a bus" crashing "into the neighbours house at speed".
Hampshire Constabulary said it had initially received lots of calls from concerned residents in the Kingsworthy area following reports of something which "felt like an explosion which shook their houses".
Residents also took to social media to describe what happened.
Rowland Rees tweeted: "Quake felt in Crawley, Winchester. Whole house shook for a few seconds!"
And Jen Gupta said in a tweet: "Our house in Winchester just shook enough to rattle glasses in the cupboard, accompanied by a boom sound."
Rachel Cristofoli, in Kings Worthy, said: "Everyone felt it and came outside to see what was going on. It lasted about 5 seconds, but the houses all shook from top to bottom."
Brook Ethridge, barmaid at the South Wonston Social Club, said: "About half past six, I was sitting reading my book and all the glasses started shaking. It sounded like someone had driven into the back of the club."
Go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-31009707
For full article." From; "Was a Dangerous Eurotunnel "Pensioned Off"" go to:  http://www.arafel.co.uk/2014/06/was-dangerous-eurotunnel-pensioned-off.html
 
The Tunnel was closed some Christmases ago due to "fissures" (their word), in the rails (strange word to use? I'm no expert). Now our foreign secretary wants to build a bridge. Does he know something we don't? Was this yet another example of the man's "humour"? You see it has also occurred to me that in no-wise would the tunnel authorities and politicians want the notion of a compromised tunnel to filter into the public domain, after all if one even thought there could be a problem "down there" one would most likely eschew using the crossing for a cheaper, less stressful and possibly safer alternative, it would surely only be necessary for the notion to gain traction for the tunnel to become financially unviable and unsustainable (I believe maintenance costs are high and that it is required rather more than was planned or than is common knowledge), personally I would rather (if given no other alternative and knowing just how dangerous it can be), swim the channel than cross it underground. What do you know Boris? Are you seriously suggesting we use and maintain both?!

Sorry to be the bearer but I am obliged..Caveat emptor sweethearts, I will never use Eurotunnel of my own volition...ever...

The above article represents the few snippets I could find sorry it is not more definitive. 


When I aired my concerns both on The Lifeboat News message board and on Twitter following Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's comments to french President Emmanuel Machron during a recent visit it met with some skepticism however both the mainstream media  (MSM), and alternative sources do not seem appraised of any problems regarding the Eurotunnel and consequently did not factor in the possibility that both Mr.Johnson and M.Macron may have been indulging in a "softening-up" exercise to prepare the ground (quite literally), for the eventual closing of the Eurotunnel route. Clearly a bridge across the channel would be an immense undertaking, one comment I received on Twitter was: "One gust of wind and it will be shut! Remember this is the English Channel we are talking about here!!" Possibly but could the road not be enclosed?


UK Hit by Biggest Earthquake for a Decade

Quote: "Parts of Britain have been struck by the country's biggest earthquake for 10 years.
The British Geological Survey said the tremor had a 4.4 magnitude, with a depth of 7.4km, and the epicentre was about 20km north of Swansea.
The quake happened just after 2.30pm on Saturday.
A spokesperson told Sky News it was "reasonably-sized" and that the effects had been felt as far afield as Devon and Birmingham.

"This is the largest earthquake in mainland UK since the 5.2 magnitude Market Rasen earthquake in 2008," he said.
Twitter users described their surprise as the aftershock was felt over a hundred miles away.
Tina Anton wrote on Twitter: "Just had a tremor as in earthquake in Cornwall! I lived in Greece and experienced loads there but never expected one in the southwest of England."

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––
Tim Johnson also posted: "Anyone else just feel an earthquake then? The whole Hilton Liverpool building just shook violently." Go to: https://news.sky.com/story/reasonably-sized-earthquake-strikes-southwest-britain-11254792 for full article.

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