Milan, May 6, 2019 – Innovation, technology, sustainability and a focus on youth: these are the key elements in the development of the sector of large, complex infrastructure - and tunnelling. “Sustainability will become more and more the driver to lead the development of the sector, especially in cities that are pursuing sustainable development through big infrastructure as two thirds of the world’s population is set to live in urban areas by 2030. Building infrastructure is not only a combination of technical skill and technology, but also a craft at the service of the development of humanity to create well-being and employment everywhere. And investing in the future means investing in our youth, committing ourselves to offer new opportunities to those who want to work in our sector, which has one of the most challenging professions,” said Pietro Salini, chief executive of Salini Impregilo and president of the World Tunnel Congress, the sector’s annual international event being held in Naples, Italy.
“Tunnelling has been practiced since the earliest of ages, marking the development of humanity. Whether it has been for religious purposes, the supply of water, or the transport of people and merchandise, tunnelling has represented probably one of the most challenging branches of engineering. In this day and age, it is perhaps one of the most strategic sectors for engineering in light of the demands placed on cities as their populations grow and the use of surface space intensifies. This has led to a greater need for underground space for the stockpiling of resources, the disposal of waste and, most of all, the development of sustainable mobility. The difference with the past is the use of technology: the project manager who uses to supervise activity on the work site with traditional instruments will in soon be doing it by means of a dashboard that provides real-time data to facilitate the efficient allocation of resources, improve productivity and enhance safety during and after construction.”
This year’s World Tunnel Congress, which will be centred around the theme of “Tunnels and Underground Cities: Engineering and Innovation Meet Archaeology, Architecture and Art”, opened today with the speech by Salini. It is being attended by more than 150 speakers and 2,000 experts to discuss the latest trends and innovations in the sector.