Tunnel Systems for Transportations and Projects
Over the last few years, the talk in the transportation industry has been about tunnel systems for transportation. The tunnels are underground passages that are considered critical for future transportation. In fact, people who advance tunnel systems ideas propose that the only way cities and governments can address the challenges of the traffic in urban centers is through tunnel transportation.
A brief history of tunnel transportation systems
Despite the tunnels idea increasingly gaining popularity over the last few years, it is worth noting that tunnels have been in used for transportation for many years. The first tunnel is estimated to have been built about 4000 years ago by the Egyptians and Babylonians with the purpose of connecting two buildings in Babylon. The 910m length tunnel offered a connection from the royal palace to the temple.
Although there are many ancient tunnels, the largest tunnel in the ancient times is estimated to have been built in 37.B.C near Naples, Italy. The road tunnel, known as Crypta Neapolitana, measures 25-feet in width, 30-feet in height, and is 4800-feet long. This ancient Roman road tunnel connected Naples with the Phlegrean Fields and the town of Pozzuoli.
Why tunnels are gaining popularity around the world
Over the last few decades, the development and progress of sophisticated equipment and explosions have made tunneling more feasible. Today, the tunneling process depends on the knowledge and experience of the engineer as well as the different approaches to different projects. If you are one of those people asking themselves why tunnel systems for transportation, the reasons can be attributed to:
Convenience and cost aspect: with most cities already established, there is no space to expand the already existing roads network. Furthermore, building new roads would require governments to purchase land from private developers, which can be very costly. Therefore, governments are only left with the option of adopting tunnel systems for transportation to ease traffic. It is also worth noting that tunneling is more economical than open cut trench method, especially where depth is beyond a limit.
Surface life or ground activities are not interrupted: the construction process is quick with low power consumption. It also means that you can enjoy more comfortable rides to work as the channels are free from snow and iceberg hazards.
Easier gradients: unlike surface roads where you have to drive over hills, tunnel channels have easy gradients, which helps to reduce the cost of hauling. In creating tunnels, engineers can use two approaches based on either end of the slope. The approaches are long and short. A long approach is when the slope of the hill is very flat, and the short approach is when the hill is very flat.
A look at the Musk tunnels project
Elon Musk’s Boring Company has been working on several tunnels systems in different cities across the U.S. The Musk tunnels project will create an underground highway system that will enable passengers to move directly from one train station to another in the downtown convention center with all benefits like WiFi connection and much more. Although the project is still in its early stages, the engineers are considering using Model Xs, Model 3s, or modified electric vehicles for transportation.
The high-speed underground public transportation that will enable people to be transported at up to 155 miles per hour. The transportation system has no surface vibration, hence, the construction will be invisible, silent, and imperceptible at the surface. It also means that no communities are divided into lanes and barriers. The Musk project will be comfortable and convenient for passengers as higher speeds, and straighter alignments are possible.
Though the Musk tunnels are futuristic, they have received criticism from most transportation experts for being small-scale people movers and covering shorter distances, thus, being less effective compared to traditional transport systems.
One of the projects that the Boring Company has completed is the Hawthorne Test Tunnel in Hawthorne city, CA. this tunnel is being used for research and development by Elon Musk’s Boring Company. The 1.14 miles tunnel starts at SpaceX property and ends at the corner of Prairie Avenue and 120th street. The project was completed in December 2018 and cost $10 million. Due to high demand, tours through the tunnel are only through invitations. Much like other Boring tunnels systems, this tunnels has come under a lot of criticism. According to transportation experts this project is much like a subway, but with the carrying capacity greatly reduced.
Elon Musk is also working on an express-route tunnel in Las Vegas that is expected to be completed before the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show. The plan is to dig a loop of underground tunnels that would be capable of carrying passengers in autonomous electric vehicles at high speeds. The project will encompass the convention center but it could later be expanded to other areas in Las Vegas, such as the McCarran International Airport. The project is estimated to cost between $35 and $55 million.
Other Tunnel systems for transportations similar to Musk tunnels project
Carmel tunnels: One of the popular Tunnel systems for transportation is the Carmel Tunnels. The construction of the project began in 2007 and became operational in 2010. The project involves digging two tunnels that connect the Krayot Junction at Haifa’s northern entrance. The western section of the tunnel opens near the Haifa Congress Center. The project’s length is 6.5 kilometers with 5 kilometers of tunnels. Drivers are required to pay a toll to use the tunnel.
The days of tunnel systems are no longer the projects of the future. With several projects being considered for approval across the US major towns, you can expect to start using the tunnel systems very soon. The futuristic tunnels are considered as the best solution to overcoming mobility challenges in established cities.