The High-Tech, Low-Cost World of Tunnel Building

New technology has dramatically reduced the cost—and disruption—of building tunnels under busy cities for rail, road and utility projects

Interview with the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering Industry Advisory Board Chair Dr. Michael Horodniceanu. 

Cities are going down.

To manage relentless growth, urban centers are expanding underground at an unprecedented pace. But it isn’t just the crush of humanity above the ground that is behind the subterranean push. It also is the result of dramatic advances in a field almost as old as civilization: tunneling.

Engineers in recent decades have developed mechanized and automated systems to chew through deep rock or muck and immediately line an excavation to prevent collapse—all without disturbing the busy city above. 

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