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UCA updates Tunnel Watch List to highlight benefits of tunnels

Last year, the Underground Construction Association (UCA), a Division of SME, formed a committee to identify the top 20 tunneling and underground construction projects that will provide sustainable economic and environmental benefit to the communities in which they are built.

“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,” said committee chair Greg Hallet “This list will help generate visibility and hopefully we can assist in helping those projects get funding or get public approval that is needed.”

Projects are ranked based on five criteria and each project is then scored against those criteria to identify tunnels that will provide the most benefit to society.

“These rankings tell us the importance of the project to the environment and to the people in the areas where they will be built,” said Hallet.

Among the many benefits tunnels provide are transportation tunnels that can help reduce carbon emissions and water tunnels that provide freshwater or provide for the storage of wastewater for treatment.

The updated 2022 Tunnel Watch list includes tunnels from the entire United States: from the East Coast, such as the Gateway Tunnel Project connecting New York and New Jersey, to the Lowell Creek Diversion Tunnel in Seward, AK. The 20 projects include well-known multibillion-dollar transportation projects that will eventually carry millions of people underground as well as combined overflow sewage projects that few people will ever see the inside of.

The Tunnel Watch List committee is chaired by Hallett and includes Greg Hauser, Mark Johnson, Ericka Moonin, Mike Roach, Jim Rush, Robert Goodfellow, Marc Herren, Mike Rispin, Grover Vargas and Mike Vitale.

The committee considered a number of factors when picking projects for the list including cumulative benefits of the project both regionally and nationally with an emphasis on societal and environmental benefits and not just economic benefits.

Geography was a factor as well as the need to help promote projects that may need funding or are particularly important to their local community, or any other reason to justify why the public needs to be aware of the need for this infrastructure.

“We want to have the list out there so that people can see what projects need funding,” said Hallet. “By giving these projects some visibility it gives people the chance to do some research and find out the benefits of each project.”

A pass/fail criteria was used to prioritize projects that have passed the initial concept design hurdle and are at least into preliminary engineering, the committee said.

The overall goal of the project is to raise awareness of the importance of tunnels to the United States. 

  1. Gateway Tunnel Project, NE Corridor, NY/NJ
  2. US 64 Corridor K Tunnel, Polk County,TN
  3. Delta Conveyance, Sacramento,CA
  4. Sepulveda Pass, Los Angeles, CA
  5. West Seattle Project, Seattle,WA
  6. Silver Line Extension, Boston,MA
  7. Continental Rail Gateway (Detroit-Windsor Tunnel),Detroit, MI
  8. LA Westside Purple Line Extension – Phase 4, Los Angeles, CA
  9. Red Line Blue Line Connector, Boston,MA
  10. Ontario International Airport and Cucamonga Station Tunnel,San Bernardino, CA
  11. Horizon Lateral Project, Las Vegas,NV
  12. Connector Conveyance Tunnel, Ph IIIC, Providence, RI
  13. CSO Control Parallel Interceptor, Newark,NJ
  14. Gordon Butte Pumped Storage Hydro Project, Martinsdale,MT
  15. Lowell Creek Flood Diversion, Seward,AK
  16. Banks Lake Pumped Storage Project,Grand Coulee, WA
  17. Harlem River Drive Ramp, New York, NY
  18. Steel Bridge Replacement Tunnel, Portland,OR
  19. Vermont Transit Corridor,Los Angeles,CA
  20. Houston Flood Control Tunnels, Houston,TX


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