GUILTY VERDICT IN HEATHROW EXPRESS TUNNEL CASE

The safety of constructing tunnels in soft ground, using the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM), was considered in the trial following the collapse of the Heathrow Express tunnel at a position under London Heathrow Airport during its construction. On 11 February 1999, NATM specialist Geoconsult was found guilty of failing to ensure the safety of its employees and others during the collapse of three station tunnels in 1994. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) had brought the charges against Geoconsult after a four-year investigation of the collapse. Geoconsult pleaded not guilty to the charges. Its employer, Balfour Beatty, was the main contactor on the project, and pleaded guilty to identical charges before the trial began. This article outlines the case for the defence and the case for the prosecution at the trial, and discusses the questions raised during the trial about responsibility for supervision on site. The HSE claimed that bad workmanship by the contractor caused the collapse, and that Geoconsult, which was subcontracted to monitor tunnel movements during construction, failed to give warnings despite clear evidence of lining movement. The judge seems to have rejected Geoconsult's argument that the collapse was caused by an unforeseeable landslide in the clay just above the tunnels.

  • Corporate Authors:

    EMAP CONSTRUCT LIMITED

    151 ROSEBERY AVENUE
    LONDON,   United Kingdom  EC1R 4QX
  • Authors:
    • Thompson, R
  • Publication Date: 1999-3

Language

  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00764480
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: May 28 1999 12:00AM