Utility Tunnels

WSP has a proven track record engineering high voltage electrical cable tunnels and telecoms, and gas transmission tunnels and pipelines.

Worldwide, cities are engaged in the constant process of upgrading their technological capabilities. In both developed and developing countries, the demand for all forms of utilities - electricity, gas, district heating, telecommunications, internet – is consistently growing, and the technology is continuously improving, necessitating upgrades. The result is the proliferation of utility tunnels in the subsurface environment, especially in urban areas or in sensitive environmental areas such as national parks.

Putting Our Experience to Work for You

WSP has a proven track record in both the design, project management, and construction management of high voltage electrical cable tunnels and telecoms, gas transmission tunnels and pipelines, and water and wastewater transfer tunnel systems.

Our experience includes geotechnical investigations and assessment, ground improvement, tunnel design including TBM, SEM and micro-tunneling, tunnelling in gassy or contaminated ground, and seismic engineering that keeps utility tunnels operable in the event of earthquake or other disasters.

Our strengths with utility tunnels include: construction in dense urban environments, constructability of tunnelling solutions, and space-proofing of tunnels with internal structures, such as cable layouts and hydraulic structures, as well as settlement analysis of critical above ground and underground structures, using innovative construction techniques to mitigate their effect. In addition we also perform condition assessment, rehabilitation, re-purposing, and upgrading of utility tunnels and facilities.

Our Work Includes:

  • Electricity Cables and Pipelines

  • Gas Pipelines

  • District Heating Pipelines

  • Communications Cables

2nd Concession microtunnel TBM for 2400mm Utility Tunnel , York ReGion, Canada

WSP in Action

In London, we performed services beginning with the feasibility studies and continuing to the construction management of a 132kV cable tunnel. The project was comprised of four segmental shafts, four sequential excavation method (NATM) junction chambers, and 8km of segmental lining in two drives, with an open face TBM and EPB TBM in London’s mixed soil geology.

In Manchester, we performed the detailed design for a 1.8km waste water tunnel system, a mix of deep and shallow shafts, short pipe-jacked tunnels and TBM bored tunnels, in difficult ground conditions.

We have also been involved in the undergrounding of overhead lines beneath high-speed rail and live highway network interchanges, using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) through difficult geology, including mine workings.