Structure and Bridge Division

Bridge Construction Best Practices

Tunnel Construction

Specific information on tunnel construction is not provided, but tunnel documents are identified that will help tunnel construction engineers and inspectors become familiar with the different types of tunnels and tunneling methods, different tunnel elements/components based on element type, material and physical location in the tunnel, functional systems, and common maintenance and repair issues for different elements/components.  

Report No. FHWA-HIF-15-006.  Dated July 2015.  Specifications for the National Tunnel Inventory.

The National Tunnel Inspection Standards (NTIS) contains the regulatory requirements for the national tunnel inventory and inspection program. These specifications incorporate tunnel elements including: structural, civil, mechanical systems, electrical and lighting systems, fire/life safety/security systems, signs, and protective systems by general element type, material, and in accordance to their physical location in the tunnel.  

Report No. FHWA-HIF-15-005. Dated July 2015. Tunnel Operations, Maintenance, Inspection, and Evaluation (TOMIE) Manual.

The TOMIE provides uniform and consistent guidance on the operation, maintenance, inspection, and evaluation of tunnels. It provides information on the complicated functional systems in tunnels such as lighting, ventilation, drainage, fire detection and alarms, fire suppression, communication and traffic control. The TOMIE discusses the operational aspects of highway tunnels and many common maintenance and repair issues for highway tunnels.  

Report No. FHWA-NHI-10-034. Dated December 2009. Technical Manual for Design and Construction of Road Tunnels - Civil Elements.

The manual providing guidelines for planning, design, construction and rehabilitation of road tunnels, and encompasses various types of road tunnels including mined, bored, cut-and-cover, immersed, and jacked box tunnels. The scope of the manual is primarily limited to the civil elements of road tunnels. It is an excellent reference on types of tunnel structures and tunneling methods such as cut-and-cover tunnels (Chapter 5), mined and bored tunnels in rock (Chapter 6), soft ground (Chapter 7), and difficult ground (Chapter 8), immersed tunnels (Chapter 11) and jacked box tunnels (Chapter 12).  

NCHRP Project 20-68A, Scan 09-05. Dated April 2011. Best Practices for Roadway Tunnel Design, Construction, Maintenance, Inspection, and Operations.

Section of the report includes a list of best practices construction methods and summary for each scan state visited. 

Page last modified: Dec. 1, 2022