Tunnels provide the means for vital connections between locations and communities, while minimising the impact on the surface environment.
A cost-effective and sustainable underground strategy can be found for moving people, freight and all the vital power and water utilities needed to keep modern and developing societies functioning.
Arup's approach to tunnel projects embraces all that is best in truly multidisciplinary and joined-up design. A holistic approach, based on a strong core team of experienced tunnellers, drawing on the capabilities of a wide array of allied disciplines, allows Arup to provide 'tunnelling plus' advice.
From life safety and ventilation to materials technology and lifecycle cost analysis, Arup's tunnel projects extend from inception to operation and beyond. This total design approach, using committed specialists working closely together, has produced exciting and innovative answers to some of the world's largest and most complex tunnel projects. These challenges are welcome, giving the firm the opportunity to implement integrated projects of real value to clients.
From community to international travel
Two current and recent projects illustrate Arup's work on tunnels and their consequent benefits to communities, travel, the environment and city design.
Arup is leading the contractor's engineering design for the design and construct contract for a vital new intake tunnel at Lake Mead, Nevada that will safeguard future water quality and supply for the city of Las Vegas. Not only does the tunnel pass through extremely challenging ground and groundwater conditions, it also requires the expertise of Arup's materials and hydraulics specialists to design the tunnel's deep water lake intake. The project design team's cost-effective work will significantly reduce construction time and risk, a vital consideration for the contractor client and project promoter.
With 26km of tunnels forming 25% of the total High Speed 1 route, linking London to the Channel Tunnel, Arup has been influential in the project from its inception. Through bored and cut and cover tunnels in urban and rural environments, 19km of tunnels have been driven beneath north and east London, with a further 3km beneath the River Thames. This work has drawn on the widest possible range of skills from within the firm and has achieved an 'on time, on budget' result that is truly world-class.
Sustainability in a changing world
The rapid growth of city populations has placed increasing pressure on infrastructure systems. There is a growing recognition that going underground is the right thing to do. From subway systems that take cars off the street to aqueduct and power tunnels that provide the necessities of life, tunnels and underground space offer sustainable and cost-effective alternatives. Arup has been at the forefront of the development of larger and more complex underground spaces in response to the demand for more cost-effective uses for them.