WSP has one of the longest-standing and extensive tunneling practices globally. In both rock and soft ground, we build transportation, water, and utility tunnels, and underground spaces.

A Century of Innovation in Tunneling

For more than a century, WSP has advanced tunneling technology with landmark projects that have shaped the course of tunnel engineering and defined industry practice.

 WSP’s achievements in underground engineering over more than a century include road, rail and water conveyance tunnels in hard rock, soft ground, mixed-face conditions and under water. From program management to design to construction management, we serve clients in the rail, highway, water, utilities, mining, scientific research, power and energy industries. Our designs have resulted in record-setting advances with tunnel boring machines (TBMs) and we have employed innovations such as earth-pressure-balanced (EPB) and slurry-face tunneling techniques and fiber-reinforced concrete liners.

Comprehensive Services  

We have addressed many of today’s most pressing concerns, including tunnel ventilation and fire life safety, tunneling methodology and mechanized excavations, micro tunneling, trenchless technology, geotechnical engineering, seismic design, security and blast design, tunnel construction engineering, risk analysis and management, and virtual design and construction/4D modeling that improves project delivery and stakeholder communication. We have also made strides in keeping infrastructure up-to-date, having inspected and rehabilitated more than 80 tunnels, some of which were those that we originally designed nearly a century ago.

Research supported by WSP has resulted in technological innovations such as our Subway Environment Simulation (SES) software, the industry standard in tunnel ventilation, as well as advances in tunnel security, strengthening, rehabilitation, seismic design, ventilation, TBM construction and micro tunneling. Our blast design and seismic design capabilities have improved the safety and security of numerous tunnels in urban areas and under open waters.

Rail Tunnels

Since developing cut-and-cover tunneling techniques for the initial New York City subway line at the turn of the 20th century, WSP has met the requirements of rail and transit agencies worldwide with innovative solutions in hard rock and soft ground. We have managed large complex tunneling projects, set records in designing TBM driven tunnels and engineered tunnels that are exceptionally deep or in challenging ground conditions. We regularly advise transit agencies on the increasingly critical issues of tunnel security, vulnerability assessment and risk analysis.

WSP has designed more than 30,000 miles of transit constructed both above and below ground. We have been involved in almost every transit system in the U.S, and many overseas in a variety of roles such as program management, design, environmental analysis and construction management.

Road Tunnels
Threading tunnels under busy city streets or boring through mountainous terrain, WSP has a long history of engineering roadway tunnels. We are experienced in designing for and managing a variety of construction techniques including conventional drill-and-blast excavation, as well as specialized techniques such as soft-ground or hard-rock sequential excavation, box jacking and immersed tube technology.

We have designed and managed the construction of road tunnels in all types of environments, ranging from urban settings to environmentally sensitive locations. WSP engineers apply innovative and proven technologies to address complex geology and demanding operational requirements.

Water & Wastewater Tunnels
With cities around the world eager to clean up their waterways and secure the water supply needed for prosperity and growth, WSP has responded with appropriate engineering solutions. We design and manage construction of water-supply tunnels, CSO tunnels and offshore outfalls, and deep shafts in all ground conditions. Our strengths include ground improvement to protect surrounding structures, tunneling in gassy or contaminated ground, and seismic engineering that keeps water tunnels operable in the event of earthquake or other disasters.


Locally Dedicated with International Scale

Our global presence allows clients to draw on our experience across various ground conditions in urban, rural and seismic regions,  as well as  underwater.



Our design teams work extensively with the latest technologies, including digital modeling of ground/structure interaction, BIM and VDC.


World-class Tunnel Solutions

We provide expertise across the entire project lifecycle, from feasibility to design, to construction management, to testing and commissioning.


Ian Chaney
Geotechnical and Tunneling National Market Leader
United States
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