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World's longest motor-traffic tunnels

Tunnel Location Length Year opened
in miles in kilometres
St.Gotthard Road Switzerland 10.1 16.3
Arlberg Austria 8.6
Frejus France- Italy 8.0 12.9
Mt. Blanc ... ... 11.7
Gran Sasso Italy 6.2 10.0
Seelisberg Switzerland 5.8 ...
Ena Japan 5.3 8.5


VIII. Match the meanings of these terms with their definition:

1. trench a. division of a road for a stream of traffic
2. soggy b. thin semi-liquid cement, mud, manure, etc.
3. beneath c. long narrow deep ditch
4. bedrock d. machine digging and moving earth and soil
5. lane e. below, under, underneath
6. excavator f. to force liquid or gas into or out of something
7. pump g. solid rock underlying alluvial deposits
8. slurry h. sodden, saturated; too moist

IX. Complete the text using the words below:

a) mountain c) line e) starts g) train

b) ends d) length f) rail h) construction

Apennine Tunnel, AP uh nyn, is a 1… tunnel on the Florence-Bologna railroad 2… in north-central Italy. The tunnel runs through the 3… range called the Apennines. Its 11.5-mile (18.5-kilometer) 4… makes it one of the longest train tunnels in the world. The Apennine Tunnel was built between 1920 and 1934. To speed 5…, the tunnel was bored from both 6…, and at the same time two shafts were dropped in to enable workers to dig out from the center.

X. Put correct forms into the gaps in the text:

Simplon Pass and Tunnel, SIMM plahn, are 1… gateways through the 2… Alps. Napoleon built a military road over the pass in the early 1800's. The road begins at Brig in the Rhone Valley. It reaches an 3… of 6, 592 feet (2, 009 meters), then descends toward the Lake District of 4… Italy. The Simplon Tunnel is one of the 5… railroad tunnels in the world. It is 12.3 miles (19.8 kilometers) long, and has a maximum elevation of 2, 312 feet (705 meters). It consists of two 6 … tunnels. One tunnel was 7… in 1906, and the other was completed in 1874, but the work was stopped before it was finished. In 1902, a lawyer 8… William G. McAdoo raised money to complete the tunnel and to build a second one so 9… traffic could run under the river. McAdoo represented the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Company. The uptown tunnels were opened to traffic in 1908. McAdoo also 10… money to build the downtown tunnels, which opened in 1909. importance Switzerland to elevate North long parallels to complete name two ways to raise

X. Make a pré cis of the text Central Artery/Tunnel Project (Big Dig)

Test 3: The Thames Tunnel


1. What type of a tunnel is the Thames tunnel?

2. How would you build such type of a tunnel?

3. What materials and techniques would you need to construct the tunnel?

The Thames Tunnelis a tunnel, 35 feet wide and 1, 300 feet long, beneath the River Thames in London, between Rotherhithe and Wapping. Originally constructed for pedestrian use, it is currently used by trains of the London Underground's East London Line. It was built by Marc Isambard Brunei and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunei in the 19th century.

A previous attempt at construction by Richard Trevithick in 1808 failed due to the difficult conditions of the ground. Marc Brunei's approach at the start of the project in January 1825 was to begin by digging a large shaft on the south bank at Rotherhithe. He did this by first building a brick cylinder above ground and then gradually sinking it by removing the earth beneath it. Brunei and Thomas Cochrane devised the tunnelling shield to dig the tunnel. The Illustrated London News of 25 March 1843 described how it worked: " The mode in which this great excavation was accomplished was by means of a powerful apparatus termed a shield, consisting of twelve great frames, lying close to each other like as many volumes on the shelf of a book-case, and divided into three stages or stories, thus presenting 36 chambers of cells, each for one workman, and open to the rear, but closed in the front with moveable boards. The front was placed against the earth to be removed, and the workman, having removed one board, excavated the earth behind it to the depth directed, and placed the board against the new surface exposed. The board was then in advance of the cell, and was kept in its place by props; and having thus proceeded with all the boards, each cell was advanced by two screws, one at its head and the other at its foot, which, resting against the finished brickwork and turned, impelled it forward into the vacant space. The other set of divisions then advanced. As the miners worked at one end of the cell, so the bricklayers formed at the other the top, sides and bottom. "

The key innovation of the tunnelling shield was its use of compressed air to keep the working face from flooding. But the dangers of compression and decompression were not understood, and workers soon fell ill from the poor conditions, including Brunei himself; ten men died during the project.

Work was slow, progressing at only 8-12 feet a week. Isambard Kingdom Brunei took over as chief engineer, and when on 18 May 1827 the tunnel flooded, he used a diving bell to repair the hole at the bottom of the river. Following the repairs and the drainage of the tunnel, he held a banquet inside it.

The tunnel was flooded again the following year, 12 January 1828, and the project was abandoned for seven years, until Marc Brunei succeeded in raising sufficient money to continue work. Impeded by further floods and gas leaks (methane and hydrogen sulphide), it was not completed until 1842. It was finally opened to the public on 25 March 1843. The tunnel was not, however, a financial success and soon acquired an unpleasant reputation.

In 1865 the tunnel was bought by the East London Railway Company and was adapted for trains, which ran out of Liverpool Street station.

It was subsequently absorbed into the London Underground. In 1995 it became the focus of considerable controversy when the tunnel was closed for long-term maintenance, with the intention of sealing it against leaks by " shotcreting" it.

This led to a legal conflict with architectural interests wishing to preserve the tunnel's appearance and disputing the need for the treatment. Following an agreement to leave a short section at one end of the tunnel untreated, and more sympathetic treatment of the rest of the tunnel, the work went ahead and the route reopened - much later than originally anticipated - in 1998.

Although the tunnel itself cannot usually be visited (except by train), the engine house on the southern bank, which originally housed the pumps to drain the tunnel, has been restored and converted into a museum.


I. Decide whether the following statements are true or false according to the text:

1. The tunnel was constructed for pedestrians and now they use it.

2. The first attempt failed because of no possibility to dig the ground.

3. The tunneling shield was invented by Richard Trevithick in 1808.

4. A new thing about tunneling shield was the use of compressed air.

5. The construction of the tunnel was accomplished quickly.

6. No floods happened during construction period.

7. Because of floods the project was abandoned for 7 years.

8. The purpose of the tunnel was changed.

9. There was quite much controversy about construction of the tunnel.

10. Everybody has an advantage to visit the tunnel.

11. The tunnel was restored and converted into a museum.

12. The tunnel was the first to be written about.

II. Using the information given in the text complete the following table:

Location: Completion Date: Cost: Length: Purpose: Setting: Materials: Engineer(s):

III. Answer the following questions:

1. Why was the tunnel turned from a pedestrian to a train one?

2. Why did a previous attempt to construct the tunnel fail?

3. What was Marc Brunei’s approach at the start of the project?

4. What helped the engineers dig the tunnel?

5. Describe the shield used for the excavation.

6. What was new about the tunneling shield?

7. Were the working conditions dangerous?

IV. Fill in the correct prepositions and match the collocations:

1. the use ___ as a chief engineer
2. to take ___ the new surface
3. to be constructed ___ flooding
4. to impel smth ___ the treatment
5. to place the board ___ compressed air
6. to keep ___ gas leaks
7. to divide ___ the tunnel
8. to be advanced ___ three stages
9. the drainage ___ the vacant space
10. to be impeded ___ two screws
11. the need ___ pedestrian use

V. Say in other words:

1. The tunnel cannot usually be attended. 2. As a matter of fact, the tunnel was turned into museum. 3. The construction work went forward. 4. The construction failed because of the ground conditions. 5. The workers suffered from bad conditions. 6. The project started with tunneling a large shaft. 7. Work was slow, proceeding at 10 feet a week. 8. It was necessary to repair the hole at the underside. 9. To dig, or to tunnel means to take the ground away. 10. The tunnel was closed for prolonged maintenance.

VI. Guess the words in the text:

In March 1853, one of the earliest tunnel 1b_____ machines ground 10 feet into the Hoosac Mountain and died, never to run again. It remained stuck in its hole for many 2y_____ as a grim symbol of engineering 3f_____. In fact, it would take several failed 4a_____, 200 lives and 20 years to complete the Hoosac Tunnel.

When 5c_____ began in 1851, workers relied on gunpowder to 6b_____ through the mountain. Progress was slow as each blast produced only a few feet of shattered rock. In 1866, two tunnel blasting tools -- nitroglycerin and the 7c_____ air drill -- were used in the Hoosac for the first time. Workers blasted faster than ever before, but not without risk.

Nitroglycerine is an extremely unstable 8e_____. Hundreds of workers 9l_____ their lives in unexpected explosions. The Hoosac Tunnel remains a landmark in 10h_____ -rock tunneling. Over the course of its construction, virtually every kind of tunnel 11d_____ device was used to 12b_____ through the Hoosac Mountain -- and virtually every kind of mistake was made. Thanks to these mistakes, engineers today can build longer tunnels in a fraction of the time.

VII. Read the text above once again and choose the sentence summarizing it:

1. Engineering mistakes help build longer tunnels.

2. The Hoosac Tunnel is the landmark in hard-rock tunneling.

3. Nitroglycerin and compressed air drills were used for the first time.

4. The use of different devices and engineering mistakes make tunnel construction go ahead.

5. The construction of the Hoosac Tunnel was rich in engineering failures.

VIII. Arrange the words relating to “construction” from the list below into thematic groups: Gigantic, brick, completing, canal, basic, steel, railway, large, massive, wooden, complex, bridge, tunnel, starting, project, building, heavy, solid, road, huge, fiberglass, industrial, house, beginning, proceeding with, clay, concrete

kinds of construction materials purposes stages of construction
basic clay bridge finishing

Text 4: Seikan Tunnel

The Seikan Tunnel is a 53.85 km (33.49 mile) railway tunnel in Japan, with a 23.3 km (14.5 mile) portion under the seabed. Although it is the longest railway tunnel in the world, faster and cheaper air travel has left the Seikan Tunnel comparatively underutilized. Typical tunnel cross section. (1) Main tunnel, (2) service tunnel, (3) pilot tunnel, (4) connecting gallery

I. Arrange the parts of the text according to the following plan:

1. The history of the construction,

2. Surveying, construction and geology,

3. Maintenance

The undersea portion of the tunnel consists of volcanic rock, pyroclastic rock, and sedimentary rock.The area is folded into a nearly vertical anticline, which means that the youngest rock is in the centre of the Strait, and encountered last. Divided roughly into thirds, the Honshū side consists of volcanic rocks (andesite, basalt etc); the Hokkaidō side consists of sedimentary rocks and the centre portion consists of sand-like mudstone. Igneous intrusions and faults caused crushing of the rock and complicated the tunnelling procedures. In September 1971, the decision was made to commence work on the tunnel. Arduous construction in difficult geological conditions proceeded. 34 workers were killed during construction. On January 27, 1983, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone pressed a switch that set off a blast that completed the pilot tunnel. The tunnel was opened on March 13, 1988, at a cost of 538.4 billion yen (US$3.6 billion). Once the tunnel was completed, all railway transport between Honshū and Hokkaidō utilised the tunnel. However, for passenger transport, 90% of people use air due to the speed and cost. For example, to travel between Tokyo and Sapporo by train takes more than 10 hours and 30 minutes, with several transfers. By air, the journey is 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Beneath the Tsugaru Strait, the use of a tunnel boring machine (TBM) was abandoned after less than 2 km due to the variable nature of the rock and difficulty in accessing the face for advanced grouting. Blasting with dynamite and mechanical picking were then used to excavate. A 2002 report by Michitsugu Ikuma described, for the undersea section, that " the tunnel structure appears to remain in a good condition". The amount of inflow has been decreasing with time, although it " increases right after a large earthquake".
Tunnelling occurred simultaneously from both the northern and southern ends. The dry land portions were tackled with traditional mountain tunnelling techniques, with a single main tunnel. However, for the 23.3 km undersea portion, three bores were excavated with increasing diameters respectively: an initial pilot tunnel, a service tunnel, and finally the main tunnel. The service tunnel was periodically connected to the main tunnel with a series of connecting shafts, at 600 to 1, 000 m intervals. The pilot tunnel served as the service tunnel for the 5 km centre portion.
Surveying started in 1946. In 1971, 25 years later, construction began. In August 1982, less than 700 m remained to be excavated. First contact between the two sides was in 1983. The Tsugaru Strait has eastern and western necks, both approximately 20 km across. Initial surveys undertaken in 1946 indicated that the eastern neck was up to 200 m deep with volcanic geology. The western neck had a maximum depth of 140 m and geology consisting mostly of sedimentary rocks of the Neogene period. The western neck was selected, with its conditions considered favourable for tunnelling.


II. Read the next part of the text and choose the title below the text summarizing it:

Two stations are located within the tunnel: Tappi-Kaitei Station and Yoshioka-Kaitei Station. The stations serve as emergency escape points. In the event of a fire or other disaster the stations provide equivalent safety of a much shorter tunnel. The effectiveness of the escape shafts located at the emergency stations is enhanced by exhaust fans to extract smoke, television cameras to route passengers to safety, thermal (infrared) fire alarm systems and water spray nozzles. Previously, both the stations contained museums detailing the history and function of the tunnel, and could be visited on special sightseeing tours. Now only Tappi-Kaitei remains as a museum, Yoshioka-Kaitei was demolished on March 16, 2006 to make way for Hokkaido Shinkansen preparations. The two stations were the first train stations in the world built under the sea.

a. two stations of the tunnel

b. the safety of the tunnel

c. the structure of the tunnel

d. the effectiveness of the tunnel


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