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Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tust
Analysing utility tunnels and highway networks coordination dilemma
Julian Canto-Perello a,*, Jorge Curiel-Esparza b, Vicente Calvo c
a b c
Departamento de Ingenieria de la Construccion y Proyectos de Ingenieria Civil, Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera, s/n 46022 Valencia, Spain Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos, Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera, s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros de Telecomunicaciones, Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera, s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain
a r t i c l e
i n f o
a b s t r a c t
Utilities are an integral component of the total transportation network comprising highways, railways, airways, and waterways, as well as pipelines, wires, and cables that transport people, goods, and public services. The perennial dilemma of mutual interference between utility lines and transportation networks could be minimised making use of utility tunnel systems. Utilidors most striking feature is that they house several types of power, water, sewage, communications, gas and other statutory services in an easily accessible space. Placing utilities in tunnels under public rights-of-way reduces the continual cutting of pavements resulting from utility burial practices and facilitates the installation, inspection, replacement, and maintenance operations. Utility tunnels and transportation networks may not be compatible at transmission levels. Highway systems are generally planned to avoid high-density areas insofar as is possible. However, where the location of utility networks coincides sufﬁciently with the highway routes, the situation becomes more favourable to the utility tunnel concept. This paper discusses how compatibility of utility system networks with highway system networks could be greatly improved by appropriate attention to utilidor systems in urban planning. A sustainable approach to the dilemma of where to locate utilities in urban streets and highways has become urgent as the need for services expands in our modern cities. Interference between the safety and ﬂow of highway trafﬁc and utility tunnel operation could be a problem unless adequate measures are undertaken. Ó 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Article history: Received 9 June 2008 Received in revised form 28 July 2008 Accepted 29 July 2008 Available online 23 September 2008 Keywords: Utility tunnel Utilidors Transportation networks Underground sustainability Urban planning
1. Introduction Efﬁcient and reliable highway and utility systems are key factors to live in a modern society (Carmody and Sterling, 1993; Duffaut, 1996; Duffaut and Labbe, 2002). The construction of any underground infrastructure involves a consumption of subsurface space. Moreover, these facilities will take up the subsurface even when they become outdated. The growing scarcity of available real estate and its rising cost are forcing the consideration and use of technical designs involving joint utilization of right-of-way to reduce utility space consumption (Cano-Hurtado and Canto-Perello, 1999). The shallow urban underground is a non-renewable resource. Therefore, these facilities must include environmental sustainability parameters in their design. Sustainability is deﬁned as ‘‘meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”, according to the Brundtland Report of the UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland, 1987). For municipal engineers involved in design and construction of utilities, sustainable strategies must be a tool to use resources adequately; minimising
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 963877000; fax: +34 963879569. E-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org (J. Canto-Perello), jcuriel@ﬁs.upv.es (J. Curiel-Esparza), vicalpe@ﬁs.upv.es (V. Calvo). 0886-7798/$ - see front matter Ó 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.tust.2008.07.004
damage to the environment and ensuring future subsurface uses will not be affected (ITA, 2004). Therefore, there is an increasing interest in utility tunnels as a problem-solving technique to avoid congestion of the rights-of-way. A multi-utility tunnel is deﬁned as an underground facility containing one or more utility systems, permitting the installation, maintenance and removal of the utilities without making street cuts or excavations (see Fig. 1). However, managing these underground facilities is always challenging due to synergistic issues. Establishing future sustainable strategies in urban underground engineering consists of the ability to lessen the use of traditional trenching (Curiel-Esparza et al., 2004). Obviously, this task goes beyond the role of a short-term urban planning. Use of utility tunnels provides necessary space for statutory services, involving underground pipes and cables, with minimum environmental impact (Canto-Perello and Curiel-Esparza, 2001). Moreover, utilidors guarantee the underground space resources for future generations. In considering the viability of utilidors in coordination with highways, it is necessary to compare conventional utility and transportation systems layouts and characteristics. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the advantages and disadvantages of utilidor practice in highway networks. However, the potential compatibility problems may also include interference of utilities among themselves operating in a tunnel environment.
These facilities may contain water. Malfas et al. 1904). and use their own funds to pay them in order to better manage utility use and occupancy of their highway rights-of-way (FHWA. A ventilation system to ensure adequate air supply for workers. drainage facilities to handle seepage or ﬂooding. the total future cost incurred due to the excavation of highways for expansion. interior illumination. However. utilidors can be inspected periodically to identify safety hazards. Water pipes and electric cables were added to the sewer of Paris and a London system commenced. 2004). gas and telegraph mains (Engineering News. 3. prepared by the Federal Highway Administration. utility tunnels ﬁnely tuned to current demands in space requirements Fig. 1907). the ‘‘Program Guide Utility Relocation and Accommodation on Federal-Aid Highway Projects”. with branches for the various house connections from the water. eliminating trafﬁc interruption. having a central arched passageway beneath it. and these operations can be done under all climatic conditions. electrical power. emergency systems. Utility tunnels show some requirements that imply an increase of the total investment. every utility addition or expansion involves new excavation and increases the likelihood of damage to other utilities. In addition. Nowadays. and is of such conspicuous public beneﬁt that the County Council was committed to the policy of making it part of every scheme of street improvement undertaken its direction. The London subways date from 1861. sewerage. has considered the use of utility tunnels to locate their facilities on highway rights-of-way. Advantages and disadvantages of utility tunnel practice Utilities have traditionally been permitted to use highway rights-of-way for location in either aboveground or underground mode. the amount of excavation required per utility is minimal. reducing highway maintenance costs. . However. In the great scheme of the municipal improvement of Paris. location of utilities in the underground case generally has not been accomplished in any systematic manner. federal departments and overlapping legislative documents that must be approved before the road works begin. when such use and occupancy does not adversely impact highway or trafﬁc safety. 2008). If a trenching system is adopted. maintenance and replacement of utilities has never been thoroughly evaluated when this directly buried system is used. Some regard it as a crime against the public interest that pipe galleries were not built in connection with every foot Rapid Transit Subway thus far constructed (Baylis. when a new street was opened from Covent Garden Market to St. and periodic vertical access and emergency exits should be included in the initial design (Curiel-Esparza and Canto-Perello. The system has since been extended as fast and as far as opportunity offered.98 m high. or otherwise impair the highway or its aesthetic quality. Canto-Perello et al. However. 2000).. In addition. Martin’s Lane. and Athens (2004) have reactivated utility tunnel projects along the major routes of services to facilitate installation and maintenance of utilities throughout the site (Hadjihambi and Deriziotis. Utility tunnel historic review Generally. 1. The use of utility tunnels improves safety and security for some or all utility occupants because they are designed to minimise personal injuries and prevent accidents (Canto-Perello and Curiel-Esparza. gas mains and services. increasing their effective life. the main sewer was designed to form both sewers and utility tunnels (Engineering News. A change in methods of traditional burial for utilities never comes easily. Underground space is ﬁnite and authorities should include utility tunnels in highway projects. which was started under the direction of Baron Haussman about 1851. The increasing demands for underground solutions emphasise the need for better coordination of the utilization of underground space (ITA. 2003). and the possibility of damage on one utility while working on another should be taken into account. 2006). few cities appear to have considered the systematic building of utilidors in existing highways or streets for the reason that the expense is considered prohibitive. a comprehensive system of subways was included. It is known that directly buried systems do not require ducts or linings and utility installation is cheaper and faster than for a utilidor system (Canto-Perello and Curiel-Esparza.186 J. Cities like Tokyo (1964). an important obstacle for many utility tunnel projects is the number of different authorities.66 m wide and 1. 2. In addition. and does not conﬂict with State or local laws or regulations. 3. utility tunnel construction projects have increased at cities where olympic games or any other mega event have been celebrated during the last decades. Future installation and expansion of utility systems can be performed without excavation when utilidor system is used. In addition. Utilidors are one of the most sustainable underground facilities and must therefore be included in highway planning. Experience shows that the use of utility tunnels increases reliability and decreases maintenance cost. gas. 2003). two-thirds of street openings are made to install or repair water. The history of modern utility tunnels dates back to the nineteenth century. 2005). 2002. / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 24 (2009) 185–189 In the United States. 1900). The traditional practice of burying each utility in separate trenches across the road rights-of-way will be compared with the use of utilidor to illustrate the pros and cons of both systems. telephone and central heating. The principal failure hazard of utility structure arises from the lack of routine inspections (Madryas. and lengthening pavement life (the life of a pavement is in inverse proportion to the number of openings made in it). Utility tunnels promote joint use of underground rights-of-way highway. 2). because space is needed only for a cable or a pipe. Moreover. Barcelona (1992) (see Fig. the compatibility between conduits of different services must be analysed to avoid interference.
Sewage is topographically oriented because the grade requirement is usually preferred to the use of pumping facilities. utility tunnels require high density of utilities to become cost-effective. At the local street level in urban areas. such as generating stations or transmission switching stations. These include for example topography and geology. There is a basic characteristic between them. Compatibility between utility tunnels and highway networks Utilities form part of the total transportation network. increase or expansion of utilities without disruption of trafﬁc. the distribution function of utility networks substantially coincides with the street layout. which are located usually in low populated areas but not necessarily near highways. in considering the coordination of utilidors with highways.J. railways. Highways and utility tunnels location Due to the number of necessary utilities. The main disadvantages are the increased cost and complexity in characterizing the existing space. Furthermore. The lack of compatibility to overcome may be attributed to many factors. which are limited in geographical range and must be located nearby to centres of population. waterways. Barcelona’s utility tunnel plan was proposed in 1989 by the local authority to proﬁt the right-of-way of a new ring highway system. utility tunnels present more attractiveness in the central business and commercial districts. In an idealized situation it may be expected that the transmission objectives of these networks would coincide to a certain extent. At the collector and arterial street level. compatibility may be improved by more attention to potential utility tunnel systems in the highway and utility network planning process. Furthermore. reducing street noise and damages to other utilities. and the reduction of utility rightsof-way requirements. the utility transmission functions seem to be even less compatible with the higher trafﬁc transporta- tion networks than in the preceding cases. At the highway level. the primary advantages of utilidor systems are the reduction or elimination of highway cuts. However. since essentially every abutting property must be served by every utility. The main objective of these infrastructures was to connect the four major olympic areas. 2005). 4. city highways are planned to avoid high-populated areas insofar as is practicable. inclusion of storm sewers or combined storm and sanitary sewers in utilidors is impracticable due to the required big diameter of pipes (Abu Sier and Lansey. Moreover. Anyway. which is comprised of highways. Summarizing. Other factors are the sources of utility supply. Therefore. eliminating interferences with trafﬁc. will soon become outdated. On rigorous economic justiﬁcation. However. 2. coordinating installation and ensuring compatibility for maintenance activities. on a ring highway of 25 km long where utilidors lie parallel to the ring highway. highways have been in many cases constructed after major utility layouts were established. Canto-Perello et al. Existing utility tunnels are mostly located in arterial and col- . In addition. However. laying gravitational sewage pipes in utility tunnels requires correlation of longitudinal drops of both structures which can be difﬁcult or even impossible and hence these pipes are often left beyond utility tunnels. Real estate availability and values dictate facility location usually. Moreover. 5. full occupancy of an utilidor is more feasible for the distribution level than for the transmission level. transportation and utility networks share the common feature of being population oriented. only the utility transmission function is likely feasible. advantages of utility tunnels indubitably outweigh the disadvantages in many situations. the utility distribution and transportation functions are not found to be consistently present. / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 24 (2009) 185–189 187 Fig. Fragmentation of utility service entities and lack of coordination with highway authorities will enlarge these circumstances. The involved area was a strip of 1 km wide. etc. it is necessary to compare conventional utility and highway network layouts and characteristics. telephone feeder lines are dependent on the location of telephonic exchanges.
In high-density urban areas. / Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 24 (2009) 185–189 lector streets of these areas. and they are fully compatible at the utility Fig. sustainable strategies must be a tool of doing things that uses resources adequately. the retaining wall supporting the excavation can form the outside of the utilidor. Now. street edges. is the turning point to handle future demands. but also for the efﬁcient use of the valuable space under the highway. In urban areas. Elevated highways may present access problems to incorporate utility tunnels. plus strict sign-in and sign-out procedures offer the greatest security in existing utility tunnels. medians tend to be narrow. For municipal engineers involved in design and construction of utilities. while disputes about use of rights-of-way for utilities are under control. Favourable layout positioning for utility tunnels would be under sidewalks. and concentration. the situation improves for utilidors. The habitual procedure is to meet problems as they arise in current practice. These situations also present opportunities for utility tunnels. Utility tunnel security is another matter of great concern. Many factors tend to upset this idealized concept in existing urban areas. and to minimise aesthetic impact or trafﬁc noise. Obviously. In comparison with arterial and collector streets. . Rights-of-way space is a ﬁnite and non-renewable resource. Feasibility of utilidors depends largely in overcoming the costs of this requirement. The key designing factor for most highway situations will be safety access without interference with trafﬁc ﬂow. They become more nearly compatible at the utility system primary distribution and collector street level. service needs for abutting properties are of low density and utility tunnels are economically unfeasible. 6. Utility system networks and highway transportation networks are not generally compatible at the level of utility system transmission and highway. However. Moreover. The question of utility location in heavily travelled highways where installation and maintenance affect the vehicular trafﬁc must be a key factor in urban planning. 3. subject to the lawful exercise of the police powers of the state. Therefore. a large number of utility lines would be required to justify the extra expense of construction. The potential sizes and number of utilities collected by an utilidor in these situations will depend on the population density and the nature of the utility networks. A sustainable strategy to the dilemma of how and where to place utilities in urban streets and highways has become urgent as the need for statutory services increases. utility tunnels could be constructed on both sides near the rights-of-way line. highways usually avoid populated areas. utility and highway networks are not generally as much compatible and will be discussed in the following paragraphs. In rural areas. Additional costs will be necessary if these accesses do not coincide with those used to serve abutting properties. which provide conventional free access to abutting property owners in high-density blocks. utility tunnels became signiﬁcant not only for preventing the need to dig up the roads for repair. 3). the utilities primary distribution function with arterial and collector streets. Where highways pass through urban areas. Limiting the number of entrances and exits for personnel and material. Entranceways can be accessible from the frontage street present in most cases. Connecting tunnels should be used to provide layout ﬂexibility between the two tunnels at intervals. Utility tunnels under the median need generally lateral access tunnels from near the rights-of-way lines to reduce conﬂicts with trafﬁc ﬂow by service maintenance operations. or frontage street separation strips. Where the arterials and collector streets have medians or frontage streets with separation strips. the structural damage to the road paving and foundation by utility cuts is a matter of great concern. In an idealized situation it might be expected that the transmission function of the various utilities would coincide with the highway system. Canto-Perello et al. or under street edges or sidewalks. transportation and utility systems share the common characteristic of being population oriented.188 J. Conclusion Historically. Both infrastructures can be deﬁned as classical networks whose location on the ground is primarily governed by population distribution in terms of extent. therefore minimising the potential beneﬁts of the utilidors. such as lateral access by a tunnel (see Fig. utilidors may be placed under the medians or separation strips. and the secondary distribution function with the local street networks. There is a growing trend for joint development and multiple use of the space below and above the highway right-of-way. utilities have always had a license or a franchise to occupy the streets and highways. Usually. The feasibility of constructing utility tunnels in conjunction with transportation facilities will depend in part on the compatibility of utility system networks with transportation networks. Barcelona’s utility tunnel entrance located near a highway right-of-way. highways can be constructed in depressions in order to keep street crossings on original grades. average density. Interference with the ﬂow of trafﬁc will be unavoidable unless adequate measures can be planned for employees and service vehicles to gain access to the utilidor from other than the through trafﬁc lanes. Entranceways may cause highway safety issues. minimising damage to the environment and ensuring future subsurface uses will not be affected. interference with pedestal foundations disqualiﬁes the subsurface right-of-way upon which the elevated facility is placed. Moreover. and are typically highly congested with trafﬁc. This location of utility tunnels would require long service lines to abutting property owners. From the broad point of view. urban policies are not established unless there are convincing needs to do so. In response to these problems.
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