Underground Research: Here and There

by Raymond L. Sterling, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof and Dir.; Underground Space Ctr., Dept. of Civ. and Mineral Engrg., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 12, Pg. 56-58

Document Type: Feature article


Geotechnical research in Europe, Japan and the U.S. were compared in a study funded by the National Science Foundation. Visits to research facilities and several surveys resulted in two reports, the results of which are summarized. Computers, geotextile use, and specialized equipment have advanced considerably in the past decade, and underground construction costs have risen less than other construction costs. However, there is concern that the United States is falling behind in new underground construction technology. The study does show that the Japanese are on the cutting edge worldwide, though many of the newer developments were originally imported to that nation from Europe and the U.S. Differences in the relationship between the public and the private sector in the three areas are examined, and foreign ownership of U.S. firms discussed as a factor in hampering innovation here. The future of the U.S. underground industry looks bleak, unless research and development funds are increased, according to the author.

Subject Headings: Underground construction | Construction equipment | Construction costs | Comparative studies | Federal government | Geomatic surveys | Computing in civil engineering | Geosynthetics | Europe | Japan | Asia | United States

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