Saturday, May 24, 2008

Big Becky not looking so hot

OMG! OPG is having techno-bureaucracy disease with the Niagara Tunnel. I though for sure they could pull this one off!

This was the OPG 'new model' way of operating. They didn't involve a speck of engineering competence, but had only 3 sales guys running the whole thing. Everything else was contracted out. Normally these contractors bleed OPG dry, but I thought this was different.

It was mainly because we had 30 years of geotechnical competence looking at this project. Even I worked on it 25 years ago! We had test tunnels, geophysics, what-have-you. There was no way anybody could botch this up!

Ah, but those little things! Niagara rock is noted for a horrendous rock squeeze problem. I've looked at old underground stations that had the life squeezed out of them! The rock is very unsuitable for tunnel boring machines. And then there's St. David's Gorge, which is an old run of the river, now filled in with glacial till. I always thought it was a bad place, but the other guys treated it with contempt, and they were going to tunnel right under 'rock mechanics hell'!

My experience with the same consultants, that helped destroy the sinking transformer, is that they only have a couple of brains in the company, and these guys spend all their time schmoozing with clients. Who does the work? It's young people, living in servitude, waiting until they can get a cushy OPG job!


Foghat said...

I hear they're only 2 Km along so far...any idea how long they'll be into the St. David's Gorge, and whether or not it'll speed up in the later sections?

Harold Asmis said...

The Gorge is nearly at the end, where I expect it to get infinitely worse. I think the whole tunnel is somewhere around 8 km, but I really don't have a clue.