An under water record?
Sixteen countries were represented during our visit to the Clyde Tunnel – a record breaking number of nationalities to be under the River Clyde at any one time?
The visit took place in December 2014, and was coordinated by Michael McGonical (Glasgow City Council, Land and Environmental Services), who explained the economic and social background surrounding the proposal for a further crossing “under” (due to Glasgow’s booming shipbuilding industry) the River Clyde in the 1950’s.
The tunnel construction began in 1957 and was completed in 1963 and William Bernard (Tunnel Manager) explained that the construction technique (a tunnelling shield) was an adaptation of that employed by Marc & Isambard Kingdom Brunel during the construction of the world’s first tunnel under river tunnel, the River Thames in London, 1825-1843.
The party was given a guided tour of the operational control room before descending into the tunnel via a works entry. Michael McGonoical and his colleagues provided access to the pedestrian /cycle tunnel and the adjacent services duct which lies directly underneath the car deck. Given the geological setting of the tunnel, flooding is a constant concern and the party were given access to see one of a series of pump- sets that are necessary to accommodate water ingress to the tunnel.
What our students said
The trip to see the Clyde Tunnel with other international students was a great idea. I very much enjoyed the short lecture at the office of chief engineer. I found out a lot of information about tunnels, the way of constructing them and challenges present. It was very nice to see the control room and honestly I didn't know that maintaining the tunnel is so complex and difficult.
It was also very exciting from international point of view. I had an opportunity to talk with other international students and get to know their experiences in Scotland. After the visit we went for a nice lunch and continued talking about Scotland, Strathclyde and our home countries. I would love to attend more meetings like this one. Maybe next time at some amazing construction site? I am waiting with anticipation.
Jakub M. Burda, 3rd year, Poland