The building of underwater tunnels by sinking preconstructed sections into a trench dates back to the end of the 19th century, not too many years after the first shield tunnels were Completed. The method has come into its own with the era of highway tunnels beginning in the 1920s. A description is given of the design and construction methods of several different types of submerged tube tunnels. One, used largely in the eastern part of the United States, takes a circular welded steel shell as the basic element of construction. This is lined with reinforced concrete and protected with a concrete envelope. Individual sections are about 300 ft long. It is particularly well adapted to a two-lane tunnel. In Europe a rectangular, reinforced concrete section has been preferred for multiple-lane tunnels. Different methods of placing and connecting the sections are outlined. The use of a movable offshore platform for sinking sections of a 12-ft-diameter sewer tunnel in open ocean waters to a depth of 200 ft is described. The last examplc is a two-track, 3 1/2-mile rapid-transit tunnel to be constructed in the earthquake region of San Francisco, California.
John O. Bickel