The Tampere Tunnel is Finland’s longest traffic tunnel. It was awarded the RIL Prize by the Finnish Association of Civil Engineers in 2016 and the Project of the Year Prize in 2017. The success of the challenging construction project stemmed from seamless collaboration between the parties involved and their ability to solve any problems as soon as they emerged using the best possible technologies. This contributed to the cost-efficient completion of the project – ahead of schedule without compromising quality.

AINS Group performed the duties of principle designer on the project. In terms of its technical requirements, the project was particularly challenging as the tunnel is located in the city centre and, at two kilometres, it is relatively long for a road tunnel. The key to the success of the project was the integration of numerous construction details and the recognition and management of a variety of risks, and work that started at the very first design workshop.

‘The main thing was that the quality of the work and safety were not compromised in the management of the schedule and budget. Instead, we focused on efficiency. To ensure smooth-running construction processes, we created more space for workers and equipment underground than was required by the technical solutions alone. Decisions like this helped us to streamline the logistics on the worksite and to ensure efficient realisation,’ explains Mauri Mäkiaho of the Finnish Transport Agency, who acted as the Tampere Tunnel Alliance’s project manager.

To ensure safe traffic on the six lanes running underground, AINS Group used its underground engineering expertise to develop novel solutions related to the tunnel’s usability.

Mauri Mäkiaho

Finnish Transport Agency

In addition to creating a safe and functional tunnel solution, the Tampere Tunnel project was designed to develop the sector and collaboration in it in general, and to generate new ideas and innovations.

‘At the construction stage, AINS Group, working together with the other alliance partners, greatly contributed to the production of new innovations. We created a number of new technical solutions related to the heating, air conditioning and safety of the tunnel. The helical crash barriers on the tunnel walls and the fire safety solutions are among the most visible of these innovations. We implemented several fire prevention solutions, more than in previous tunnel projects, and we also took measures to minimise damage in the event of fire,’ says Mäkiaho.

Efficient project management enabled completion ahead of schedule

One of the major achievements of the project was its completion ahead of schedule – without compromising quality. In this, seamless collaboration with authorities was one of the contributing factors, which affected day-to-day work in many ways.

‘The Finnish Transport Agency was more than a client; Mauri Mäkiaho was actively involved in the project management and design, working as part of the team. The process ran so smoothly that we didn’t even notice the bureaucracy operating in the background. We ran ahead of schedule with the permission issues with the authorities,’ explains Matti Kalliomäki, head of AINS Group’s underground construction unit.

Another indication of the success of the project is that the Finnish Transport Agency’s road plan could be realised without any changes. Nothing had to be left out of the plan and all the changes made during the project resulted in improvements in terms of both quality and budget.

Future construction projects to benefit from the new solutions and models

As a result of the tunnel project, traffic now runs safely and cars no longer take up space on the picturesque lakeside where the old main road used to run. The shore of Näsijärvi will play a greater role in local residents’ day-to-day lives as new housing, pedestrian and cycling routes, services and recreational facilities can be built in the area.

Spurred on by the success of the Tampere Tunnel project, several private- and public-sector clients are adopting the alliance approach in their construction work. In addition, the new technical solutions created as a result of the seamless collaboration will benefit other rock engineering projects in the future.

The interest aroused by the success of the Tampere Tunnel project helps to ensure that the innovations will be adopted by other construction projects.