Geology is an important determinant affecting the construction of tunnels. This paper gives the principal characteristics of three shallow sewer tunnels constructed with segmental and flexible linings in Kent and Worcestershire, England, where their location in urban areas adds additional geotechnical constraints to those generally encountered.

Methods of construction and rates of progress are shown to be controlled by lithology, structure, ground-water, recent human activity such as mining, quarrying and waste disposal, and the response of residents to blasting techniques.

These experiences show that even such exotic problems as those arising when tunnelling at shallow depth beneath refuse tips should be anticipated by careful investigation and that conflicting interests of residents and tunnellers should be resolved by sympathetic negotiation.

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