Future of Tunnels

Published on 25 February 2008 (updated on 26 February 2008)
The A86 West tunnel shows recent developments in road tunnels and the way in which new environmental and safety requirements are met. In addition, costs have been reduced because the banning of lorries from the tunnel means it can be smaller.
The A86 West tunnel shows recent developments in road tunnels and the way in which new environmental and safety requirements are met. In addition, costs have been reduced because the banning of lorries from the tunnel means it can be smaller.
(image courtesy of Cofiroute)

The number of tunnels and underground structures in general, that are built in the world every year is rising and will continue to do so.

These structures provide both a way of solving certain town planning problems that affect the major cities of the industrialized world and a way of crossing mountains and stretches of water.

But they are becoming more and more expensive as a result of increasingly stringent demands with regard to the integrity of surface structures and, above all, the high level of safety that must be guaranteed in the event of a fire.

The resulting costs, particularly for operation, could seriously hinder future developments.

It is necessary to be reasonable and realistic with regard to these requirements, in order for us to be able to continue to take advantage of the benefits tunnels can provide for regional development and urban planning.

Bibliography:
"Petite histoire des tunnels" by Georges Reverdy, which appeared in No. 26 of Culture et techniques Génie Civil, published by the Ministère de l’Équipement, de Logement et des transports.
Lists of tunnels that are considered to be of historical interest are available on the Internet.