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Practical Guide to Rock Tunneling
2nd Edition

A practical road map for the design, construction and operations of tunnels in rock, particularly for young professionals.

Cover and back for 2nd Edition English.jpg



  • Provides practical tips from experience for the entire spectrum of tunnel engineering for rock tunnels

  • Explains all stages of tunnel project and tunnel engineer's role for young professionals

  • Provides approaches for the recognition of poor quality rock for unlined rock tunnels

  • Provides newly developed methods of technical analyses

  • Provides key steps for inspection of operating tunnels




This Practical Guide to Rock Tunneling fills an important void in the literature for a practical guide to the design and construction of tunnels in rock.

Practical Guide to Rock Tunneling takes the reader through all the critical steps of the design and construction for rock tunnels starting from geotechnical site investigations through to construction supervision. The guide provides suggestions and recommendations for practitioners on special topics of laboratory testing, durability of rock and acceptance for unlined water conveyance tunnels, overstressing or deep and long tunnels, risk-based evaluation of excavation methods, contract strategies, and post-construction inspections. Key considerations and lessons learned from selected case projects are presented based on the author’s extensive international experience of over 30 years and 1000 km of tunneling for civil, hydropower, and mining infrastructure, including some of the most recognized projects in the world to date.

Instead of revisiting all theory and concepts that can be found in other sources, this book contains the hard learned lessons from the author’s experience in the field of Rock Tunneling, gathered over 30 years of service.


Key additional information is included in this 2nd Edition including the following:

• Updated in situ stress graphic based on deep testing data

• TBM Risk Assessment and Selection for hydroelectric tunnels;

• TBM Tunnel Support – new Q/RMR chart for TBMs based on case projects;

• Deterioration/slaking impacts to TBM excavation and mucking operations;

• Hydroelectric tunnel layout design;

• Seismic design considerations for tunnels in rock;

• Industry recommendations for the inspection of aging hydroelectric tunnels;

• Raisebore stability evaluation;

• Tunnel lining requirements for geological faults in hydroelectric tunnels;

• Use of drones for inspection of historical tunnels, and;

• Additional international case histories and lessons learned.



Practical Guide to Rock Tunneling” is exactly that, a useful tool and guide for practitioners in the tunnel business. This book provides insight into nearly every subject and for all steps of a rock tunnel project from planning through construction and operations and inspection. This book is a valuable reference for owners/clients, as it includes discussion of subjects such as: project planning, costing, scheduling, and risk assessment, never covered in classic technical books. Excellent photographs and graphics are contained throughout the book, which clearly illustrate the author’s message from practical experience on the multitude of subjects.

This book provides guidance on the current up-to-date state-of-the-practice in rock tunneling discussing

innovations of the last decade from televiewer logging of bore holes, LiDAR aerial surveys for geological fault mapping, proper photography of rock core, to the modern use of fiber reinforcement in pre-cast concrete segments. New technical evaluation and graphical methods are presented for overstressing and squeezing of deep tunnels as part of constructability assessments. A good discussion, illustrated with photographs, of the importance of rock durability is provided. The acceptability of unlined tunnels for water conveyance and criteria to consider are discussed.

This book is based on 30 years of practical experience of investigation, design, construction, and operation of rock tunnels coupled with a thorough review of the literature. “Practical Guide to Rock Tunneling” should be part of all tunnel practitioner’s libraries; this includes staff engineers, geologists, project managers, and owners.


Don W. Deere, P.E.
Denver, Colorado

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