Assessing governance issues of urban utility tunnels

Autores UPV
Revista Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology


Throughout the centuries, utilities have been an important and sometimes decisive instrument in human development. Municipal policy-makers and engineers have been playing a key role in improving management and technology of urban utilities. With the growth of urban areas and the corresponding increased demand for utility services, available underground space will continue to diminish. Therefore, planning for an urban subsurface sustainable future consists of the ability to lessen the use of raditional trenching techniques and developing coordinated installations of utilities. As an innovative problem-solving technique, utility tunnels become inevitable to reduce congestion of the shallow underground. Utilities management becomes more complex as many public authorities and private companies are involved. Because of the complexity of ownership of the various utility tunnel potential occupants, some form of governmental ownership would probably be the most practicable, although other orms (individual private, joint private, or condominium) of ownership must be nalyzed. Whatever the form of financing and ownership, some single entity must be made esponsible not only for initial construction but also for security, access control, and operation and maintenance throughout the life of the project. The purpose of this paper is to point out some of the utility tunnels innovation and organizational advantages to encourage municipal engineers to demand sustainable solutions for services congestion. Proper adequate governance and security management should be key elements of every decision undertaken in utility tunnels.