Although the concept of tunneling and the development underground structures are not entirely new to us as a country. We have more recently explored tunneling and underground options to proffer solutions to some of our environmental and social challenges.
THE IMMEDIATE PAST
This is a very go way to create short cuts that will greatly ease traffic bottle necks. This already exists in the different parts of the country, a notable example being the independence tunnel in Maryland, Lagos and several others across the country.
Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD):
The Oil and Gas industry has more recently explored the option of installing its pipelines at more significant depths, which greatly reduces the chances of them getting vandalised. This has been achieved through the adoption of trenchless technologies.
Flood Control System
Flood has been a recurrent occurrence and has affected several communities , some states have responded to this in more innovate ways by employing the use of flood relief systems that channel water from catchment areas through underground tunnels to either storage facilitates for future use or to natural reliefs like rivers.A notable example is the Akwa Ibom flood control Tunnel.
The Future Prospects:
The future prospects of Tunnelling and Underground structures in Nigeria is very bright, there are very obvious reasons why we have to develop the industry. We are looking to bridge our infrastructural gap and this will only be effective when we integrate surface and underground options.
Mambilla Hydro Power scheme: This is expected to generate over 5000MW of power. This will be such an iconic project that it will usher us into the next phase of delivering mega infrastructure especially those with underground applications. This project delivers water from a Dam through hydraulic tunnels over a cumulative distance of 33km over a vertical drop of 1000m to an underground substation.
Metro Systems: There is the prospect of having a metro system in Lagos as well as Abuja and this will require significant tunnelling and underground inputs.
Over ground Rail Systems: As we invest in the development of our regional rail systems, we expect that tunnelling and underground options will come into play as we seek ways to navigate through potential natural and man-made obstructions.
Intergrated Water and Sewage systems: The need to meet international standards for domestic water supply in our urban cities is now pertinent. We already have cities like Lagos and Portharcourt looking to explore this options and it will be replicated in other states and urban communities.
Generally the applications of tunnelling to our infrastructural base can only be have an upward trend.