Brian Gettinger Quoted by CNN on Tunneling
As two Florida cities consider building tunnels with Elon Musk’s The Boring Company, CNN Business interviewed Freese and Nichols’ Brian Gettinger as a tunneling expert.
Fort Lauderdale and Miami have talked with Musk about the prospects of tunnels to ease traffic congestion, the report said. Brian, our Tunneling Services Leader, spoke to CNN about advances in tunneling technology and the potential challenges posed by Florida’s geology.
Fort Lauderdale and Miami have talked with Musk about the prospects of tunnels to ease traffic congestion, the report said.
Here’s part of the tunneling discussion in Why one Florida city wants to build a two-mile tunnel to the beach:
Tunnels are generally considered an infrastructure choice of last resort, according to Brian Gettinger, who leads tunneling at the infrastructure company Freese and Nichols.
“You see them where nothing else works because they’re generally more expensive,” Gettinger said.
Tunneling technology has progressed significantly in the last generation, he said. Pressure is applied at the face of the new tunnel, preventing water and earth from flooding the excavation site. This has made tunneling viable in more places, according to Gettinger.
But Florida’s dry land — and the lack thereof — brings unique challenges for tunnel builders.
Florida’s limestone can make it harder to optimize a tunneling machine because there are natural holes in it, Gettinger said. Tunnel builders prefer when rock is solid, he said. It’s easy to customize a machine for consistent conditions, like solid rock or soil. Climate change also adds risk for tunnels, due to sea levels rising and tunnels potentially flooding. In Malaysia, Gettinger said, tunnels have been specifically designed to manage flooding.
Read the full report: Why one Florida city wants to build a two-mile tunnel to the beach