TUNNELLING AND UNDERGROUND SPACE IN IRAN
The use of tunnels and underground spaces in Iran, as a developing country, is increasing for diverse purposes such as the construction of water transfer tunnels, crossing mountainous areas via tunnels, urban transportation, excavation of ores and minerals, transmission of wastewater and sewage, trenchless excavations for transmission and distribution of oil and gas, construction of strategic underground spaces such as underground hydro power plants or for hydrocarbon storages storing fuel, gas or crude oil, and the construction of urban facilities such as underground parking spaces and shopping malls. Many such projects are currently under study, construction or in use.
Table - A brief statistic of tunnels in Iran
|Length (m) |
Total Length (m)
|1||Water transmission tunnels||73390||139609||180787||393786||23.85|
|2||Hydropower plant & diversion tunnels||6102||11992||107343||125437||7.60|
|3||Wastewater and sewage tunnels||6940||69400||18470||94810||5.74|
|4||Urban rail tunnels (Metro)||144100||94700||239940||478740||28.99|
Tunneling in Iran has several thousand years of background and history. “Qanats” were one of the first types of tunnels constructed in Iran for the purpose of water transmission and distribution. The use of underground mining techniques for the excavation of ores and minerals was also used in ancient times.
In recent years the construction of long and deep tunnels in addition to underground spaces due to insufficient availability of space at the ground surface in urban areas has led the tunneling industry towards the use of modern techniques and technologies and Iranian engineers have kept up with current developments of this industry in the world. Tens of Tunnel Boring Machines have been obtained and are in use in various projects. In addition to the use of modern knowledge and tools, Iranian engineers have shown great advances both in the design of underground structures and in the field of their construction. Research in the field of underground spaces has also seen an increase in recent years and universities and some technical firms have shown increasing interest in relevant studies und have shared their knowledge and experience in numerous publications in form of papers published and presented in various national and international journals, conferences in addition to different text books published in this field. Tunneling is being taught as specialized fields of study in 3 universities in addition to 37 universities offering relevant courses in the fields of Mining Engineering, Civil Engineering and Engineering Geology. Other technical developments in Iran include the production of various tools and machinery such as drilling equipment, shotcrete and grouting pumps, ventilation fans and so on.
The Iranian Tunneling Association (IRTA) was founded in 1998 in order to increase awareness, train young engineers, focus on research and provide a link between universities and the industry. It became a member of the International Tunneling Association (ITA) in 1999. - The number of our individual members is 1054 persons and corporate members are 144 companies.
8 working groups have founded and continue their activities and Monthly seminars in which experts from the industry and university lecturers make presentations of the latest developments are held regularly.
The quarterly "Tunnel" Magazine is published each season and the new Scientific & Research Journal of the Iranian Tunneling Association has started to be published with the cooperation of Shahrood Univ.
our sister associations as the Iranian Geotechnical Association (IGS), the Iranian Rock Mechanics Association (IRSRM), the Iranian Engineering Geology Association(IEGA) and the Mining Engineering Association of Iran (MEA) are so interested on tunneling subject and follow it .last year IRTA held the 10th Iranian Tunneling Conference & Exhibition from 4 to 7 of November 2013 .
About 400 papers were accepted and presented due two days. The conference so included 3 workshops, about 2000 square meter trade exhibition and technical visits.
This association has a lot active members and provides expert knowledge where required to its members and specialized training courses at various levels. IRTA informs its members of tunneling news and developments through its website, email, technical magazine and journal, in addition to holding monthly seminars. IRTA has held 10 conferences so far which were well attended by national and international firms, experts, and university professors and students.