Advantages And Limitations Of Adaptable Tunnel Design And Construction Methods

Ashley, David B. ; Tse, Edward C. ; Einstein, Herbert H.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 24
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1979
INTRODUCTION Decision-making in the design and construction of underground facilities must be made under conditions of varying geologic uncertainty, uncertainty which can have a major cost impact if not properly regarded. Of the two approaches for dealing with this variability, preparing for the "worst" anticipated conditions and optimizing design and construction in-situ, preparing for the "worst" conditions is the more if not solely conventionally practiced method in the United States. While the conventional approach is recognized at times to be extremely overconservative, it will remain preferred until a more adaptable method is shown to be economically superior. This paper presents research aimed at providing just such answers as to when and if an adaptable tunnel design and construction approach is more cost effective than a non-adaptable one. To fully understand the characteristics of this choice between adaptable and conventional tunneling alternatives a summary discussion of adaptable methods is presented. An acknowledgement of the importance of geologic and other factor uncertainties in making this decision leads to the adoption of decision analysis as a quantitative methodology for formalizing the problem. Exercising this methodology on three prototypical tunneling scenarios--urban deep, urban shallow, and transmountain--allows an isolation and ranking of the most crucial factors in making the basic approach decision. One scenario, a transmountain highway tunnel, is carried further through a detailed probabilistic analysis to show under what conditions of varying uncertainty adaptable approaches possess economic advantages.
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