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Features Nov 20, 2023

On September 9, 2023, a memorial was held in Pleasant Hill, California, to celebrate the life of Bhaskar Thapa, an associate engineer at Delve Underground who died unexpectedly 10 years ago, in June 2013. Friends and family attended, including his widow Sumira and sons Barune and Sid. At the memorial, Delve Underground’s Sarah Wilson, who worked closely with him, spoke of Bhaskar’s “unwavering excellence in his work, his thoughtfulness, his easy laughs, and how everyone appreciated being around him.”

Bhaskar’s memory lives on—through his family, his friends and colleagues, his publications, his work, and the engineering community worldwide.

Bhaskar was passionate about his career and his work at the company (at the time, Jacobs Associates), and made important contributions to numerous projects. He was an expert in the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) and was the lead tunnel designer and the design representative during construction on the Caldecott Improvement Project (Caldecott Fourth Bore) in Oakland, California. His tenure on that project spanned eight years, and the Fourth Bore opened just months after his passing. A lot of folks at the memorial fondly referred to the Caldecott Fourth Bore as “the Thapa Tunnel.”

In 2014, Mary Solon and Mary McCosker of the Lafayette Historical Society published Building the Caldecott Tunnel and included Bhaskar in their dedication: "This book is dedicated to Bhaskar Thapa, PE, PhD (9/7/1963-6/19/2013), chief engineer on of the Caldecott Fourth Bore Project, and to those who lost their lives building the tunnels through the Oakland/ Berkeley Hills."

In 2015, the Bhaskar–Tejshree Memorial Foundation was formed in memory of Bhaskar and Tejshree Thapa, a renowned human rights activist. In 2016, a collection of Bhaskar’s papers, Rock Engineering for Underground Structures, was published.

Soon after Bhaskar’s passing, in October 2013, the California Department of Transportation placed a plaque honoring Bhaskar near the operations/control room close to the west portal:

Dr. Thapa's deep understanding of geological engineering and the principles of tunneling were instrumental in surmounting the challenges of constructing a tunnel through the East Bay Hills. ... The project team will always remember him for his dedication to the project, his profound understanding of this discipline, and his good-heartedness towards all.