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Eurocodes: Building the future
News announcement21 November 2022

Prospects for designing tunnels and other underground structures in the context of the Eurocodes

A new JRC Technical Report has just been published with recommendations on standardisation works for underground structures design.

Parallel highway tunnels under construction - Stavanger, Norway
© Nightman1965, Adobe Stock | #124777370

Within the EU construction ecosystem, road and railway tunnels take an important share of the European infrastructure market, playing a central role in securing business continuity and supporting fast connections, especially for emergency services.

Despite tunnels and other underground structures being unique structures, there are no European design standards or harmonised guidelines. Tunnel and underground spaces design in Europe is based primarily on national standards, recommendations, knowledge and experience with the use of industrial/client standards and guidelines developed at national level.

Moreover, parts of the Eurocodes are used for the design of tunnels, despite having no specific parts devoted to underground structures design. Further, the on-going standardisation work programme for the Second Generation Eurocodes under Mandate M/515 does not include specific activities addressing the design of tunnels and other underground structures.

The new JRC Technical Report on "Prospects for designing tunnels and other underground structures in the context of the Eurocodes" discusses the prospects for the harmonisation of underground structures’ design in Europe within the Eurocodes framework. This is another important step towards common structural design standards in Europe as the Second Generation of the Eurocodes is under development.

The standardisation works can build upon the initial technical assessment of the Eurocodes applicability for the design of underground structures as performed by the JRC Expert Network on the standardisation needs for underground structures in the period 2020-2022 and discussed in the report. It is recommended that an Ad-Hoc Group on Tunnelling and Underground Structures under CEN/TC250 “Structural Eurocodes” is established to prepare a Project Plan with the items to be treated in the various TC250 SubCommittees.


Publication date
21 November 2022
Not associated with a specific Eurocode
Not associated with a specific Eurocode

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