Since its founding in 1885, tunneling and underground technology have occupied a prominent role in Parsons Brinckerhoff’s portfolio of skills. Throughout our history, we’ve pushed the limits of tunnel technology with landmark projects that shaped the course of tunnel engineering and defined industry practice. Parsons Brinckerhoff’s underground engineering accomplishments began with the technological advances in cut-and-cover tunneling put into practice by William Barclay Parsons in 1904 during the construction of the first segment of the New York City subway.
We have hands-on experience with all types of tunnels—rock, soft ground, cut-and-cover, immersed tunnel, micro, jacked, and New Austrian Tunneling/Sequential Excavation Method. Our experience also includes the largest mined caverns constructed in the U.S. as well as New York’s first, and latest, underground transit tunnels. Our tunnels are used for highways, rail and transit, water conveyance, combined sewer overflow, utilities, underground storage, and scientific research.
Parsons Brinckerhoff's accomplishments have established technical milestones in tunnel engineering and underground facility design, and Parsons Brinckerhoff staff has developed many of the guiding tools of the trade such as the Tunnel Engineering Handbook, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Design Manual for Tunnels and Shafts in Rock, the Subway Environmental Design Handbook and, most recently, the FHWA Manual for Design and Construction of Road Tunnels, which will soon be adopted as a national standard of practice by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
Our designs have resulted in record-setting advances with tunnel boring machines and we have pioneered the use of innovations such as earth-pressure-balance and slurry-face tunneling techniques and fiber-reinforced concrete liners. We design systems for tunnel ventilation, lighting, drainage, power, traffic control and surveillance, communications, and fire protection and safety. In addition to the traditional tunneling services we provide, our professional staff is a leader in the development and application of state-of-the-art designs and cutting-edge technologies in areas such as tunnel security and blast-protective design, tunnel construction engineering, tunnel inspection and rehabilitation, risk analysis and management, virtual design and construction, and sustainability and green design. Our tunneling achievements have been recognized by the industry through numerous engineering excellence awards. Parsons Brinckerhoff was recently named Tunnel Design Firm of the Year and our technical director for tunneling was named Tunneller of the Year at the New Civil Engineer International Tunneling Awards 2010.