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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > January/February 2009 > FHWA Seeks Comments on Creation of National Tunnel Inspection Standards
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-09-010
Date: January/February 2009

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FHWA Seeks Comments on Creation of National Tunnel Inspection Standards

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is soliciting comments on the creation of a regulation that would establish National Tunnel Inspection Standards (NTIS). FHWA estimates that there are more than 300 highway tunnels in the United States. The NTIS would set minimum tunnel inspection standards that would apply to all Federal-aid highway tunnels on public roads.

The National Tunnel Inspection Standards would set minimum tunnel inspection standards that would apply to all Federal-aid highway tunnels on public roads.

According to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, published in the November 18, 2008, Federal Register, the NTIS "likely would include requirements for inspection procedures for structural, mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and ventilation systems, and other major elements specific to tunnels such as tunnel finishes; the qualification and training of inspectors; and a National Tunnel Inventory." As noted in the Federal Register announcement, such "timely tunnel inspection is vital to uncovering safety problems and preventing failures."

FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration developed guidelines for the inspection of tunnels in 2003, which were published in the Highway and Rail Transit Tunnel Inspection Manual (Pub. No. FHWA-IF-05-002). These guidelines were updated in 2005. However, inspection frequency and methods are not currently mandated. For a copy of the 2005 manual, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/inspectman00.cfm.

Figure 2. Photo. The entrance to the Cumberland Gap Tunnel, which carries U.S. 25E under the Cumberland Gap between Tennessee and Kentucky.
The Cumberland Gap Tunnel carries U.S. 25E under the Cumberland Gap between TN and KY.

Comments on the proposed regulation are due on or before February 17, 2009. All comments should include Docket No. FHWA-2008-0038. Comments can be submitted via mail or fax or electronically.

Mail:

Docket Management Facility

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20590-0001

Fax:

202-493-2251

For more information and a link to the Federal Register notice, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/comment.cfm. Information is also available by contacting Jesus Rohena in FHWA's Office of Bridge Technology, 202-366-4593 (email: jesus.rohena@fhwa.dot.gov).

Figure 8. Photo. The entrance to the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel in Whittier, Alaska. A minivan is about to enter the tunnel.
The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel in Whittier, AK.

 

Figure 9. Screen shot. The home page for FHWA's Virtual Team on Road Tunnels www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/index.htm.
For more road tunnel engineering resources, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/index.htm.

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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