Tunneling and Ground Engineering

Western Branch Tunnel During Inspection

At Jacobs, our tunneling and ground engineering team is one of the largest and most capable in the world. We offer technical know-how and innovative solutions to meet our clients’ needs.

With a history stretching back several decades and countless projects and programs delivered safely across the globe, we provide critical support to manage and mitigate ground risk. We work in all geographical regions and across multiple markets, including water, environment, transportation, cities, nuclear and energy and  power. Our experience includes some of the world’s most iconic projects, from the U.K.‘s Thames Tideway, Sydney Metro’s West Central Tunnels, the U.S.’s California High Speed Rail, to Singapore’s Deep Tunnel Sewerage System and New Zealand’s Central Interceptor.

Our solutions

We deliver world-leading tunneling and ground engineering solutions through technical excellence and leadership across the full project life cycle from feasibility studies and investigations, through preliminary and detailed designs, to construction management and asset management services.

  • Jacobs Tunneling Team
    Tunnel engineering

    We provide state-of-the-art tunnel design delivered from our ‘tunneling ethos’ established from a century of understanding and managing associated risks in underground infrastructure development. We offer a full range of soil and rock tunnelling, fire life safety and underground construction services - from feasibility to detailed design, through project and program management and site support services.

  • Temporary Works Phasing
    Geotechnical engineering

    We provide a full range of solutions, including site investigation, characterization and ground modelling; geo-digital solutions, including sub-surface BIM; geotechnical interpretation and reporting; seismic design, earthquake engineering; earthworks and foundation design and specification; slope stabilization design; ground improvement; pavement foundation design; geotechnical instrumentation; geotechnical asset management; and mine pit slope design, mine subsidence and underground void filling.

  • A83_Geology
    Geosciences and engineering geology

    These solutions are provided throughout the project life cycle, however they are most sought at the conceptual, planning and engineering design stages of projects. We offer a diverse range of services, including engineering geology and geomorphology, hydrogeology, mitigation of geohazards, remediation of abandoned mine workings and contaminated land, nuclear waste disposal and seismic hazard analysis.

  • Tunnel Ventilation
    Tunnel ventilation, fire & life safety

    We have vast experience in tunnel ventilation and fire life safety systems. Our teams specialize in fire and ventilation assessment, using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling and design of life safety and fire suppression systems. We routinely provide design services and advice to clients across all the markets we serve.

  • Trenchless machine in muddy field
    Trenchless engineering

    Jacobs is a leader in trenchless engineering, having been ranked #1 in the U.S. market by Trenchless Technology Magazine for the last seven years. Our experience includes soft ground and hard rock trenchless engineering; construction impact assessments; frac-out risk assessment and mitigation; pipe materials and jointing; evaluation and optimization of trenchless alignments and optimal trenchless technology and methodology; planning, preliminary engineering and detailed design of trenchless projects.

  • Ground Engineering_Earthquake
    Geoseismic engineering

    With a deep expertise in seismic hazard assessments for critical infrastructure, we have a team of specialists covering engineering seismology, earthquake geology and geotechnical earthquake engineering. Our strong track record includes delivering site-specific probabilistic seismic hazard analysis, site response analysis and capable faulting assessments for major projects in the energy, defense, petrochemical, transportation, water and environment sectors. Our solutions cover the specification and supervision of seismic monitoring and specialist site investigation techniques to support our industry-recognized assessment of seismic hazards.

Geo-digital solutions

Coloured technical drawing of landscape with water channel

We work at the forefront of digital design and technology, leveraging these through the entire project lifecycle including the development of novel sensor systems that transform earthworks into smart assets. Approaches such as automated design increase efficiency and safety in delivering projects; and digital twins provide clients with the ability to visualize key aspects of their projects, enabling decision-making, mitigating risk and optimizing programs.

Sustainable tunnelling and ground engineering solutions

Looking up a green trees

To respond to the global climate challenge, our team has adopted a decarbonization and net zero mindset to support our collective strive for a sustainable environment. As an example, we have developed the Carbon Comparator tool for comparing the carbon cost of different engineering solutions. Critically, it provides an estimation of embodied carbon at the optioneering stage so that carbon is part of the decision-making process early on. This and other digital applications developed are enabling sustainable solutions for our clients and the environment.

We aim higher

As well as being committed to technical excellence in delivery, our team is passionate about progressing knowledge and science in the field and, as such, engages in a series of wide-ranging industry initiatives, including academic collaboration; technical meetings, conferences and publications and professional technical associations.

  • Encouraging the next generation

    We are passionate about supporting our next generation of tunnelers and ground engineers. We actively engage with schools and universities across the globe, including The University of Leeds, Imperial College London, University of Birmingham, Heriot-Watt Dubai and Colorado School of Mines. We also participate in a range of doctoral and post-doctoral research projects, including on earthquake ground motions, geological and geomorphological characterization, and rock deformation and failure.  

  • Working with others

    We reinvest in society and research across the world. Our teams are committed to sharing project examples, best practices, lessons learned and new ideas with the industry through regularly presenting and showcasing papers and posters at regional technical meetings and global conferences. We also regularly publish in industry magazines and academic journals and co-author technical standards and manuals.

  • Supporting national and global technical institutions

    We actively support national and global technical institutions such as the British Tunnelling Society, Geological Society, Institute of Civil Engineers, International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment, Underground Construction Association (UCA), American Concrete Institute (ACI), Society of Engineers United Arab Emirates, Australian Geomechanics Society, Australian Tunnel Society and Transport Research Board (TRB).

Contact us for more information

Get in touch

“Unfortunately, soils [and rocks] are made by nature and not by man, and the products of nature are always complex…” (Terzaghi, 1936). We take great pride in solving the puzzles set by nature and bring our tunneling and ground engineering skills to provide a more resilient, sustainable tomorrow.”

Mark Johnson

Global Market Director - Tunneling and Ground Engineering

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