Hand Tunneling – Ancient Methods Utilizing Modern Technology
While most tunneling projects utilize one of the many types of boring equipment, some tunnels are done the classical way – by hand tunneling.
Hand tunneling, also called conventional tunneling or hand mining, is typically done using shovels and pneumatic hand tools to excavate the soil. Supports made of wood or metal are then installed to keep the tunnel from collapsing.
For shorter tunnels, hand tunneling can be more economical than using a tunnel boring machine.
Hand tunneling is used in combination with other trenchless tunneling methods when boulders or other obstructions are encountered. Drilling and blasting is sometimes required to remove large boulders from the excavation path which the boring equipment cannot handle.
Hand Tunneling Applications
Hand tunneling is used for utility tunnels, road crossing tunnels, starter tunnels and tunnels connecting structures. They can be round, square, elliptical or horseshoe shaped.
Hand tunneling is used for installing a range of different pipe materials such as:
- reinforced concrete pipe
- reinforce concrete box segments
- fiberglass pipe
- steel casings
Some projects require a tunnel liner which a carrier pipe is inserted through. Several different materials can be used as liner:
- Liner plate
- Beam and lagging
- Wood box tunnel
The type of liner used will depend on soil conditions and project requirements.
With hand tunneling, the workers require enough space in which to excavate the soil, so the usual minimum size of pipe that can be installed using hand tunneling is 48 inches. A tunneling shield is often used to support the tunnel as it is excavated, help steer the direction of the dig, and to provide safety for the workers.
Hand Tunneling is a J & J Boring, Inc. Specialty
We have been successfully digging and boring tunnels since 1983. Hand tunneling in soil conditions ranging from dirt to hard rock is one of our specialties. Our licensed blasters have over 50 years of combined experience and can handle any blasting needed for your project.
We have the knowledge and experience to handle any type of tunneling required for your project. Call us at 636-566-6766 for a quote on your tunneling project.