Logistics Aspects of Long and Deep Tunnels

Long and deep tunnels allow humanity to overcome natural obstacles, thus allowing efficient and environmentally friendly transportation of goods, resources, and people. As highlighted in the previous Reports from Working Group 17 (thereafter referred as “WG17”), large underground projects, such as long and deep tunnels, are unique in terms of complexities and uncertainties and often face enormous challenges, among which logistic aspects.
Effective management of key logistical aspects of long and deep tunnels is essential for the success of the project; it impacts, among others, safety, performance (and so construction time and costs), environment and acceptance. As the saying goes, management of logistics is « the art of never stopping a construction site, it is like an umbilical cord ». Logistics has to ensure that the right material, in the right condition, at the right time, at the right place, is available to the right person. Therefore, understanding the logistical constraints and anticipating the contractors’ needs is crucial to create the best possible working environment and a solid construction contract.

The importance of this topic, combined with the lack of literature dedicated to the specific logistic aspects of long and deep tunnels, has led WG17 to focus on developing a recommendation to guide Owners and Designers in understanding the impact and complexity of the logistics of these extraordinary projects. The aim is that those reading the guidelines will be able to address key aspects in the early design phase. The recommendation summarizes the experience of Owners, Designers and Contractors from worldwide projects, and is based upon the experience of the WG17 members on projects excavated at great depth.