Japan Tunnels under the Ocean

by Dan Morse, Assistant Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 5, Pg. 50-53

Document Type: Feature article


The 54 km Seikan Tunnel, the longest undersea railroad in the world, opened in March. The tunnel, which connects Japan's two largest islands, Hakkaido and Honshu, is part of a pre-World War II wish to link the four islands of Japan by land transportation. Sea surface surveys began in 1946. Excavation of the main tunnel started in 1971. Two crews working northbound and southbound tunneled toward each other using conventional blasting techniques. The most important technical task was to develop a grouting technique to seal out sea water. Flooding and fire were two situations where special safety precautions were taken. Excerpts from the Japan Society of Civil Engineers' report on the tunnel describe other construction and design features.

Subject Headings: Tunnels | Ocean engineering | Islands | Fire resistance | Underwater structures | Rail transportation | Seas and oceans | Geomatic surveys | Japan | Asia

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