Left to right: Tunnel intern Sara Svärd with colleagues from the Johannelund project: Anders Hyttsten, Stefan Persson and Daniel Johansson
The office and the construction site are two very different worlds. How a three-day internship in the tunnel taught office worker Sara Svärd about the challenges her colleagues face– and they now understand the needs of the team in the office.
Sara Svärd usually works in value assurance and the management team at Implenia’s Swedish branch in Liljeholmen. To enhance her understanding of infrastructure construction and our tunnel operations, she spent three days as an intern on the Johannelund project, part of the E4 Stockholm bypass.
The Johannelund project
Johannelund is part of the E4 Stockholm bypass, which stretches from Häggvik in the north to Kungens Kurva in the south. Of the 21-kilometre stretch of road, 18 are in a rock tunnel, and along the tunnel section are ramp tunnels that are connected to junctions above ground. The project comprises the construction of two 3.6-kilometre parallel road tunnels with four connection ramp tunnels, four vertical ventilation shafts measuring 10 metres in diameter and between 30 and 50 metres deep, and evacuation tunnels. Construction began in 2015, and Implenia expects to be involved until 2021.
“The visit was a lot of fun. I enjoyed a warm welcome and everyone took excellent care of me,” says Sara happily. “Over the three days, I saw with my own eyes what working in the tunnel is really like. The colleagues answered all my questions very patiently and it became very obvious how little I know about things that they take for granted.”
What work does a tunnel internship entail?
The part Sara found most exciting was the opportunity to get her hands dirty. “The team made a real effort to show me and explain their work processes, and to get me actively involved – needless to say, only as far as the safety regulations allowed. I also tried to understand why which methods are used – and whether there might be alternatives.”
Sara was able to try out various types of work on her visit to the tunnel:
Injecting concrete into the rock before blasting in order to seal cracks
Loading and detonating blasting powder
Scraping loose rock from the tunnel walls by hand
Tours of inspection using the checklist
Test bench and service machinery
Who benefits from the exchange programme?
Sara is certain that her three days in Johannelund were a good investment. “I now understand better what we do in tunnel construction – what works well in practice and where we still face challenges,” she explains. “It became very clear how important communication is at every level. Communication is the only way to ensure that staff are happy and that we can work profitably.”
Implenia is the leading partner for demanding infrastructure projects in Sweden, with a particular focus on tunnels and caverns.
Sara’s visit also opened up new perspectives for the team at Johannelund. Talking to her taught the colleagues, led by Anders Hyttsten, Stefan Persson and Daniel Johansson, more about what happens at the company, how the organisation is structured, which central services are there to support them, and what these do – and they now understand the needs of their office-based colleagues a little better.