The US and Canada had different reactions to the global recession. While both took a hit, Canada’s economy didn’t suffer nearly as much as its southern neighbour’s. Looking specifically to the underground construction industry, both countries are seeing strong demand for tunnels—from multi-billion dollar transportation infrastructure programs to smaller sewer conveyance projects.

1) Alaskan Way Viaduct Bored Tunnel Replacement
Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), a joint venture of Dragados USA/Tutor Perini, is the design build contractor for this USD 1.35bn highway tunnel of 17.7m diameter. STP will use a Hitachi Zosen TBM to excavate the two-level, 2.7km tunnel, starting this year.

2) University Link Light Rail Extension
Three TBMs launched last year on this light rail extension in Seattle. The twin bore tunnels, each of 6.5m diameter, are being constructed under two separate contracts. The JCM U-Link joint venture of Jay Dee/Coluccio/Michels is using a Hitachi-Zosen machine for a distance of approximately 1.85km, while a joint venture of Traylor/Frontier-Kemper is using two Herrenknecht TBMs, each executing a 3.4km drive.

3) Second Avenue Subway
TBM excavations completed last year on both bores for the running tunnels of Phase One on New York’s Second Avenue Subway line, each roughly 2.4km in length. The new line will have three new stations, two of which are being constructed by drill and blast. A joint venture of Schiavone/Shea/Kiewit is working on the cavern for 72nd Street Station, and a Skanska/Traylor joint venture is working on the 86th Street Station.

4) Lake Mead water intake number three
Providing additional drinking water capacity for the Las Vegas area, the Southern Nevada Water Authority is building a new 4.5km tunnel under the lake and intake structure. Contractor Vegas Tunnel Constructors (VTC), a joint venture of Impregilo and its subsidiary SA Healy, will use a 7m diameter Herreknecht TBM for the job.

5) Water Treatment Plant Four
Two separate contracts have been awarded to build a water treatment plant worth USD 508M in Austin, Texas. A joint venture of Southland/Mole will excavate the 10.5km Jollyville Transmission Main, which will have a final diameter of 2.1m. Austin Hill Country Constructors, a joint venture of Obayashi USA/Manson Construction Company, is building the raw water system, which includes a 2.7m diameter raw water intake tunnel of 1.3km in length and a 2.1m diameter raw water transmission main 1.1km long.

6) Waller Creek Tunnel
To protect the city from dangerou s flooding, Austin, Texas, is working on a 1.7km tunnel ranging in diameter from 6.2 to 8m. The USD 146.5M project is being delivered in four contracts to construct the tunnel, inlet and outlet structures. S.J. Lewis was awarded a contract for the tunnel portion, worth USD 49.5M last year.

7) Port of Miami Tunnel
Excavation of the 12.86m diameter tunnels started in November for the highway tunnel at the city’s port. The 1.1km twin tunnels are being constructed by contractor Bouygues Civil Works of Florida, part of the Miami Access Tunnel (MAT) concessionaire.

8) Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE)
Contractor Aecon started two TBM drives on the TYSSE last year. OHL/FCC will be using two more TBMs to tunnel 6.6km on the project’s second major contract. All four CAT Tunneling (previously Lovat) machines were owner-procured.

9) Eglinton Scarborough Crosstown LRT
Running across the entire length of Toronto this light rail project of 25km will include 19km excavated by TBM. Twin tunnels 5.75m in diameter will require at least four machines, and perhaps as many as eight. Owner Metrolinx hasn’t finalised the exact number of construction contracts, but expects to have the first package awarded early this year.

10) Toronto sewer tunnel
Strabag has a USD 296M contract to build a 15km wastewater tunnel in the Toronto area, including 16 shafts, in August 2011. Four Caterpillar Tunneling TBMs with diameters of 3.6m, will be used to mine the tunnel. Construction is expected to finish in August 2015.

11) Ottawa Light Rail Transit
The City of Ottawa is selecting a consortium to deliver the Ottawa Light Rail Transit project—a 12.5km line that will include a 2.5km tunnel through the city’s downtown. The RFP process is scheduled close in July for the three shortlisted consortia. The winning proposal will be announced at the end of the year.

12) Evergreen Line Subway
A total of 11km long, the City of Vancouver’s new Evergreen line will include a 2km tunnel. Three shortlisted teams (EL Partners, Kiewit/Flatiron Evergreen Line and SNC-Lavalin) will submit technical submissions for an April deadline.

13) San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
The SFPUC is undertaking a USD 4.6bn improvement program to update its water system. Significant components include the 5.6km New Irvington Tunnel, 4m in diameter, and the Bay Tunnel of 4.6m diameter and 8km long. The Bay Tunnel will see the first TBM to excavate under the San Francisco Bay.

14) North-South Tunnel
Atlanta’s proposed 11km tunnel would connect Interstte highways to relieve congestion. Initial studies suggest using a 12.5m diameter TBM for excavation. The Georgia Department of Transportation proposed the project as a toll road, but has met some resistance from local residents. Based on 2008 costs, the estimated price of the tunnel project would be USD 3.74bn.

15) DeKalb Tunnel
Dekalb County, east of the Atlanta area, is planning the Interplant Storage and Conveyance System (ISCS) or DeKalb Tunnel for transfer and storage of wastewater between treatment plants in the county. Design is still underway for the approximately 25ft (7.6m) diameter tunnel, with an length between 7 and 8km.

16) Central Subway
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency awarded a USD 233M contract to SA Healy/Barnard in June 2011 that includes two single-track tunnels of 2.7km, excavated by two TBMs of 6.4m diameter. There are three underground station contracts yet to bid.

17) Euclid Creek Tunnel
A joint venture of McNally/Kiewit secured a USD 198.6M contract to excavate a 5.5km tunnel with a 7m diameter by TBM in Cleveland, Ohio. The storage tunnel includes a 900m stretch below Lake Erie.

18) OARS
Measuring 7km in length and 7m in diameter the first of three deep tunnels for Columbus, Ohio’s, USD 5.4bn Wet Weather Water Management Plan is being constructed by a Kenny/Obayashi joint venture. Two more tunnels on the east and west side of town—the 21km Alum Creek Relief Tunnel and the 18km Olentangy Relief Tunnel—will be constructed to relieve sanitary sewer overflows in 2014 and 2018, respectively.

19) Lower Mill Creek Tunnel
The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati is proposing a 1.9km-long tunnel with a 9m diameter worth USD 244M to reduce combined sewer overflows. Design is in the preliminary stages. Construction should be completed in 2018.

20) East Side Access
Connecting the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Station, this New York project completes tunnels either side of a 2.6km long existing stretch at 63rd Street. A Dragados/Judlau joint venture is constructing the 2.2km Manhattan Approach Tunnels. In Queens, a joint venture of Granite Construction Northeast/Traylor Bros/Frontier-Kemper is using slurry TBMs for 3.2km of tunnels.

21) South Hartford Conveyance and Storage Tunnel
In Hartford, Connecticut, the Metropolitan District is planning the 4.1km South Hartford Conveyance and Storage Tunnel of 8m diameter. This is part of a total 8km of tunnelling and microtunnelling for the city’s Clean Water Project.

22) Midtown Tunnel
The Virginia Department of Transportation has partnered with Elizabeth River Crossings (ERC), lead by Skanska Infrastructure Development and Macquarie Financial Holding Limited, to build a new two-lane immersed tunnel crossing the Elizabeth River. The PPP expects to reach financial close on the project in late February/March.

23) Blue Plains Tunnel
To tackle its CSO problems, Washington, DC has hired a joint venture of Traylor Bros/Skanska/JayDee for design and construction of the 7.2km-long Blue Plains tunnel with a 7m-diameter. There is also the 3.8km Anacostia Tunnel, which should start construction in November 2013.

24) Gateway Tunnel
Amtrak announced its proposed rail tunnel to connect Secaucus, New Jersey to New York’s Penn Station in February 2011. This would take the place of the cancelled Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) tunnel. Amtrak estimates the project could be completed by 2020 with an USD 13.5bn price tag. The US Senate approved USD 15M for design and engineering work in November 2011.

25) Deep Rock Tunnel Connection
The City of Indianapolis’ USD 280M Deep Rock Tunnel Connection of 5.5m diameter will be 12.7km-long and help solve the city’s CSO problems. The project is slated for completion during 2017.

26) Delta Tunnel
California is looking to build a USD 12.7bn tunnel to bring water from the San Francisco Bay, south to the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta. A report issued in late 2010 found a 8km single bore tunnel, with a 8.8m i.d., connected to another 56km dual bore tunnel with 10m i.d. would be the best option.

27) Delware Aqueduct Tunnel
A 4.8km bypass tunnel is under design to repair the leaking Delaware Aqueduct in New York. Under the plan, the USD 1.2bn tunnel will be built around a portion of the aqueduct experiencing the most significant leakages. The project includes four access shafts ranging from 213 to 274m deep at 4.6 to 6m in diameter. The 6.7m diameter TBM should begin excavation in 2015.