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Inspection of Highway and Rail Transit Tunnels

Jeffrey Havelin, P.E.

Course Outline

This (10-hour) course provides specific information and procedures for the inspection of both highway and rail transit tunnels. Although several components are similar in both types of tunnels, a few elements are specific to either highway or rail transit tunnels and are therefore defined accordingly. It is commonly understood that numerous tunnels in the United States are more than 50 years old and are beginning to show signs of considerable deterioration, especially due to water infiltration.

The following paragraphs explain the specific subjects covered along with procedural recommendations that are contained in the FTA/FHWA 2005-Highway and Rail Transit Tunnel Inspection Manual, which is the basis of this course.

This course addresses inspection procedures for the functional aspect of the tunnel, focusing on the civil/structural, mechanical, and electrical components. The also provides brief guidance on other systems/appurtenances, such as track, traction power, signals, and communications, which comprise the operational aspects of a rail transit tunnel. This brief guidance is only meant to provide general knowledge and not in-depth inspection criteria for such systems/appurtenances.

Although this course is produced for a hands-on, non-destructive evaluation of the inside face of the tunnel structure, other state-of-the-art, non-destructive testing methods may be used in areas that require a more in-depth structural evaluation. These methods may include mechanical oscillation techniques such as sonic or ultrasonic measurements (more commonly referred to as Impact-Echo), electronic techniques such as georadar, and optical techniques such as infrared thermography and multispectral analysis.

This course is based entirely on the "2005-Highway and Rail Transit Tunnel Inspection Manual" - Publication (FHWA-IF-05-002). This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of course materials. You will be quizzed on the attached document in its entirety

Learning Objective

This course will review the following designations, principles, applications, and various inspection criteria.

Intended Audience

This course is intended for architects and engineers who our involved or interested in learning about Inspection of Highway and Rail Tunnels.

Benefit for Attendee

Attendee of this course will be learning about "Inspection of Highway and Rail Tunnels" in accordance with the FHWA inspection guidelines.

Course Introduction

This (10- hour) course addresses inspection procedures for the functional aspect of the tunnel, focusing on the civil/structural, mechanical, and electrical components, based entirely on the 2005 Highway and Rail Transit Tunnel Inspection Manual.

The tunnel types section covers the different tunnel shapes in existence, liner types that have been used, the two main invert types, the various construction methods used to construct a tunnel, and the multiple different finishes that typically exist in highway tunnels. The ventilation and lighting system sections are self-explanatory in that they cover the basic system types and configurations. The other systems/appurtenances section is used to explain tunnel systems that are present in rail transit tunnels, such as: track systems, power systems (third rail/ catenary), and signal/ communications systems.

Course Content

This course is based entirely on the "2005- Highway and Rail Transit Tunnel Inspection Manual" - Publication (FHWA-IF-05-002).

The link to the course materials is as follows:

2005- Highway and Rail Transit Tunnel Inspection Manual" - Publication (FHWA-IF-05-002)

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.