The Underground Construction Association (UCA), a Division of SME, formed a committee in 2021 to determine the top 20 tunnelling and underground construction projects that will deliver sustainable economic and environmental benefits to the communities in which they are constructed.
Greg Hallet, a committee chair, stated: “The point of the Tunnel Watch List is to have that list so people can see what projects are out there and are in need of funding,”
“This list will help generate visibility and hopefully we can assist in helping those projects get funding or get public approval that is needed,” continued Hallet.
Projects are classified based on five criteria, and each project is then scored against those criteria to specify tunnels that will have the most benefit to society.
He also asserted: “These rankings tell us the importance of the project to the environment and to the people in the areas where they will be built.”
Examples of the many benefits that tunnels provide are transportation tunnels that can assist in decreasing carbon emissions and water tunnels that supply freshwater or deliver for the storage of wastewater for treatment.
The updated 2022 Tunnel Watch List comprises tunnels from the entire United States: from the East Coast, like the Gateway Tunnel Project linking New York and New Jersey, to the Lowell Creek Diversion Tunnel in Seward, AK.
The 20 projects comprise the well-known multibillion-dollar transportation projects that will ultimately transport millions of people underground, plus integrated overflow sewage projects that few people will ever see inside of it.
Hallett is chairing the Tunnel Watch List committee, which incorporates Greg Hauser, Mark Johnson, Ericka Moonin, Mike Roach, Jim Rush, Robert Goodfellow, Marc Herren, Mike Rispin, Grover Vargas and Mike Vitale.
When choosing projects for the list, the committee pondered several factors comprising the cumulative benefits of the project, both regionally and nationally, with a focus on societal and environmental benefits and not only economic benefits.
Geography was a factor in addition to the need to support promoting projects that may require funding or are incredibly crucial to their local community, or any other reason to explain why the public necessitates being aware of the demand for this infrastructure.
Hallet asserted: “We want to have the list out there so that people can see what projects need funding,”
“By giving these projects some visibility, it gives people the chance to do some research and find out the benefits of each project,” added Hallet.
The committee claimed that pass/fail criteria were used to rank projects that have passed the primary concept design hurdle and are at least into preliminary engineering.
Nevertheless, the general purpose of the project is to raise awareness of the tunnels’ importance in the United States.
2022 UCA Tunnel Watch List:
- Gateway Tunnel Project, NE Corridor, NY/NJ
- US 64 Corridor K Tunnel, Polk County, TN
- Delta Conveyance, Sacramento, CA
- Sepulveda Pass, Los Angeles, CA
- West Seattle Project, Seattle, WA
- Silver Line Extension, Boston, MA
- Continental Rail Gateway (Detroit-Windsor Tunnel), Detroit, MI
- LA Westside Purple Line Extension – Phase 4, Los Angeles, CA
- Red Line Blue Line Connector, Boston, MA
- Ontario International Airport and Cucamonga Station Tunnel, San Bernardino, CA
- Horizon Lateral Project, Las Vegas, NV
- Connector Conveyance Tunnel, Ph IIIC, Providence, RI
- CSO Control Parallel Interceptor, Newark, NJ
- Gordon Butte Pumped Storage Hydro Project, Martinsdale, MT
- Lowell Creek Flood Diversion, Seward, AK
- Banks Lake Pumped Storage Project, Grand Coulee, WA
- Harlem River Drive Ramp, New York, NY
- Steel Bridge Replacement Tunnel, Portland, OR
- Vermont Transit Corridor, Los Angeles, CA
- Houston Flood Control Tunnels, Houston, TX