Posted by: Jan | March 26, 2019

Tunnel Construction Issues being Ignored

Here’s a great blog by Deirdre at California Water Research about the issues being ignored or hidden with the tunnel construction. “WaterFix: Tunneling risks and tunnel construction contracts”

“Whether there is one Delta tunnel or two, the construction of a large diameter tunnel in Delta soils consisting of sedimentary layers of peat, sand, silt, and clay is a significant engineering challenge.

There was a large sinkhole created by “Big Bertha” during the Seattle Highway 99 tunnel construction which “shows the problems that can be created by “loss of ground” when tunneling in sedimentary deposits. Even when there is no “loss of ground” there can still be significant settlement on the surface. Washington Governor Jay Inslee halted the tunnel boring on January 14, 2016, citing concerns over public safety.”

“The current alignment of the WaterFix main tunnels passes under Delta island levees, State Route 4, State Route 12, the BNSF railroad tracks used by Amtrak, the Mokelumne aqueduct, and natural gas and other product and services pipelines. These are all critical infrastructure in the Delta. But measures to protect this infrastructure from tunneling impacts were not identified in the WaterFix environmental documents.”

Read all the details at: “WaterFix: Tunneling risks and tunnel construction contracts”



  1. Jan, I have been following the collapse of the Cologne library since it occurred in 2009. In addition to the loss of life, hundreds of priceless books and manuscripts dating back to the middles ages were lost in the collapse. I have worked on the design and construction of several tunnels and underground structures including the MUNI Metro tunnels in downtown San Francisco and the design of the BART tunnels in downtown San Jose. I am very much aware of the risks associated with such construction no matter how much effort and expense are expended to “mitigated” the risks inherent in their construction. What’s worse, is it is nearly impossible to pin down responsibility on any entity should anything go wrong given how distributed responsibilities are and how many individuals, experts, and companies need to be involved in such endeavors. As you can see in the included link below, after nearly a decade of investigation and effort to determine the cause of the Cologne tunnel failure, the final outcome is no one was found responsible. The same would happen in the water tunnels if allowed. Cologne archive collapse: Builders found not guilty of negligent homicide | DW | 12.10.2018

    | | | | | |


    | | | | Cologne archive collapse: Builders found not guilty of negligent homicid…

    Deutsche Welle (

    The 2009 collapse of Cologne’s archive killed two people, destroyed innumerable historical documents and caused … |






Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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


%d bloggers like this: