Digging Down

one aspect of the city that we haven’t gone into in any significant detail is the road network. our plan is to bury the roads underground. While the costs upfront will be higher, the benefits are numerous:

  • the space above the roads becomes usable for green space
  • pollutants can be filtered from the tunnels before being released into the air
  • the layout of the city can be more organic rather than in a grid
  • we can have separate tunnels for different needs; bike tunnels, pedestrian tunnels, automotive traffic, etc
  • the greenery that replaces the roads up top will be more visually appealing and healthy than the roads they replace

Since we plan on trying to build everything using pre-fabricated technology, the question becomes, is there such a thing as pre-fab tunnel? Additionally, do they come in different sizes? Since cost is such a huge issue, how can we build the described tunnels at as low a cost as possible? The terrain of course, will have a say in how much construction will cost. Since we are capital constrained, we will only build parts of the road network, as necessary.

From the  moment a vehicle enters the city, it will have to go underground. Above ground can be bicycles and pedestrians on a simpler/narrower road network.

I found this website website about building cheaper tunnels:


Cheaper is the operative word. According to the Wall Street Journal (http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-high-tech-low-cost-world-of-tunnel-building-1461549887) even with new, cheaper techniques for building tunnels, it still costs $19,000 per foot to build a tunnel. It’s not clear if that includes the cost of the machine (God help us if it doesn’t). For just a thousand feet, that would mean $1.9M in cost. While our labor costs would be lower (Thank you India!), the machine cost, many of which are built in Europe would not change. Assuming a 30% reduction in cost due to lower labor costs 1,000 feet would still cost over $13,000 per foot. That would be a no go.

A note to myself to look and see if China builds an tunnel boring machines at a more acceptable cost level.

Amazon link to support us:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s