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Publication numberUS3478521 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 18, 1969
Filing dateAug 18, 1965
Priority dateJan 23, 1962
Publication numberUS 3478521 A, US 3478521A, US-A-3478521, US3478521 A, US3478521A
InventorsPetrik Dragan Rudolf
Original AssigneePetrik Dragan Rudolf
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Underwater floating and to required level submerged tunnel composed from prefabricated tunnel units
US 3478521 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 18. 1969 D. R. PETRIK 3,478,521



FIG. 4



B @Zma @fimu ATTORNEYS United States Patent O 3,478,521 UNDERWATER FLOATING AND TO REQUIRED LEVEL SUBMERGED TUNNEL COMPOSED FROM PREFABRICATED TUNNEL UNITS Dragan Rudolf Petrik, Pretoria, Transvaal, Republic of South Africa (8 Alice Road, Kensington, Johannesburg, Transvaal, Republic of South Africa) Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 252,944, Jan. 21, 1963. This application Aug. 18, 1965, Ser. No. 481,448 Claims priority, application Republic of South Africa, Jan. 23, 1962, 62/286 Int. Cl. E02d 29/06, 25/00; B63c 11/34 US. Cl. 61-43 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A submerged tunnel construction in which the tunnel is maintained suspended in a body of water by anchor means including ropes or the like connected to winding devices on the tunnel. The winding devices vary the effective length of the ropes to adjust the depth at which the tunnel is submerged. The water ballast on the tunnel is varied by a weighing device responsive to the tension in the ropes to control pumps which pump water to and from ballast compartments in the tunnel. The tunnel may be formed by a plurality of prefabricated tubes connected together by flexible waterproof sheets which permit relative displacement of the tube ends while maintaining a continuous underwater passageway.

RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuation-in-part of applica tion Ser. No. 252,944 filed Jan. 21, 1963 now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to a novel underwater floating tunnel construction particularly useful in jet train transport systems, but applicable to any type of transport systems constructed in lakes, rivers, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is the primary object of this invention to provide underwater suspended transport tunnels suitably anchored at a desired depth to resist the buoyant effect of the water which tends to displace the tunnel upwardly. This tunnel construction may be suspended at any desired water level out of the influences of waves and ships passing through the water. The tunnel is advantageously placed at a depth providing surroundings of very favorable temperature and pressure conditions and isolated from the eifects of earthquakes.

Another object of this invention is to provide an underwater tunnel system constructed of prefabricated tunnel units made from waterproof building materials such as reinforced concrete or prestressed concrete, metals or plastics in suitable dimensions to provide the jet train transport system. Such construction avoids the necessity of conventional boring and supporting structures used in prior art systems. Prefabricated tubular units can be made longer due to very small expansion because of its placement in most favorable surrounding conditions.

Another object is to provide underwater tunnel construction having installation and storage rooms for machinery utilized in placing the tunnel units at the required depths, for receiving water ballast in and out of the tunnels, for ventilation, and for emergency entrance and exit openings into the tunnel system.

Another object is to provide underwater tunnel construction having an anchorage system including a plurality of parallel flexible ropes which cause the tunnel floor to remain horizontal even though it may move within the body of water.

Another object is to provide a tunnel anchor system ineluding a foundation imbedded in the floor of the body of water and flexible anchor ropes connecting the tunnel to the foundation.

Another object is to provide a waterproof and, if desired, flexible connection between adjacent tunnel units which comprises a plastic waterproof ring sheet secured between two metal plates to permit some relative movement between adjacent tube units, the degree of movement being limited by adjustable tie-ropes.

Another object is to provide underwater tunnel construction having automatic regulation of water ballast by means of pumps operated in response to instruments measuring the tension in anchor ropes and to signals of traflic patterns of approaching transport.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent upon reference to the accompanying description when taken in conjunction with the following drawings wherein:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURE 1 is a section of an underwater floating tunnel illustrated as having two tunnel units; FIGURE 2 is a section of a submerged floating tunnel comprising six tunnel tubes, two tubes for jet trains, one tube for two ordinary railways, one tube for two lanes of heavy trucks, and two tubes for twelve car lanes;

FIGURE 3 illustrates an anchor foundation suitable for use in strong bearing sea-ground;

FIGURE 4 illustrates an anchor system comprising a loaded, weighted-down vessel particularly useful in soft sea-ground;

FIGURE 5 illustrates a rigid connection joining adjacent prefabricated tunnel units;

FIGURES 6 and 7 illustrate flexible connections between adjacent tunnel units;

FIGURE 8 is a longitudinal wall section illustrating a flexible connection with longitudinally adjacent tunnel units ends abutting each other;

FIGURE 9 is a longitudinal section view for the flexible connection between adjacent tunnel units spaced from each other;

FIGURE 10 is a section view of the rigid connection between adjacent tunnel units illustrated in FIGURE 5.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Before proceeding to a detailed description of the drawing, it should be noted that the suspended underwater tunnel transport system of the invention functions on the principle that, when the transport load in the tunnel changes, the buoyant effect of the water tending to surface and push the tunnel upwardly also changes, which changes are reflected in the tension in the anchor ropes holding the tunnel in the submerged condition. The ballast on the tunnel can be regulated automatically by heavy pumps which pump water in and out of the tunnel tubes, the pumps operating in response to measuring instruments sensing the tension in the anchor ropes or in response to an information service about the transport load moving through the tunnel.

Referring now to FIGURE 1, the underwater tunnel system comprises two tunnel tubes 1 enclosed within external walls 2, each tube having beams 3 supporting a floor 4. Center space 5 located between tubes 1 serves as a corridor and exit from the tubes, houses mechanical machinery such as water pumps, windlasses, etc. and instruments such as manometers for the pumps to obtain the required stresses in anchor-rope 12, and also receives some ballast water pumped in by the pumps. Door 6 connects the tubes to space 5.

Positioned within space 5 are windlasses 7 driven through coupling gear 8. Also positioned within space 5 are ladder 9, and ventilation and exit shafts 10 having metal walls 11 and communicating with tubes 1 through ventilating pipes 20. If no ventilation shafts are necessary, a waterproof cover may be provided over the manhole at the top of space 5.

Flexible anchor ropes 12 are connected at one end to windlasses 7 and may pass over the tubes through wheels 35 and rings 36 to connect at the other end by anchor rods 13 to a cone shaped concrete foundation 14 imbedded in ground soil 15 of ground floor 21 (FIGURE 1). The ropes 12 may also pass upwardly through pipes 27 in the bottom of wall 2, the pipes being internally sealed by waterproof stopper 28 which is adjustable to various size ropes (FIGURE 2).

An important aspect of the invention is that the anchor ropes 12 be arranged parallel to each other to maintain the tunnel fioor in a horizontal level position even though the tunnel may shift laterally as shown at 19 in FIGURE 1. The number of anchor ropes used varies, but, in any event, ropes 12 should be provided at least at the ends of each tube 1.

The anchoring foundation 13, 14 illustrated in FIG- URES 1, 2 and 3 is suitable in very hard and stable ground, such as rock foundations, which will retain the concrete 14. A cross beam 33 connects anchor rods 13 to ropes 12.

In FIGURE 4 a ballast anchor including a weighted loaded vessel 34 imbedding itself below ground floor 21 is provided and is particularly useful when the ground soil is very soft and sandy.

Ballast Compartments 18 within walls 2 contain ballast which counteracts the buoyancy effect of the water and the tendency thereof to surface the tunnel. Part of the ballast may be a fixed weight, the other part being variable and comprising Water which is pumped in and out of the compartments by the water pumps 31a in center space 5. The pumps are operated in response to the tension in anchor ropes 12 as sensed by suitable tension indicating instruments 31 connected to the pump motors. Where the tension in the ropes increases, indicating a tendency of the tunnel to move upwardly to the surface, the pumps are activated to pump water into compartments 18 to increase the ballast. When the tension decreases, as under heavy transport loads, the pumps are activated to pump water out of the compartments.

In another control arrangement, the pumps may be operated in response to an information service regarding the amount of traffic or transport load through the tunnel.

The embodiment of FIGURE 2 illustrates an underwater tunnel having six tunnel tubes, tubes 22 for a jet train, tube 23 for two ordinary railways, two tubes having sections 24 and 25 each with three car lanes, and tube 26 for two lanes of heavy trucks. The tunnel is also provided with ventilation shafts 29, stairs 30, and operating machinery 32.

The prefabricated tubular members which are joined together to form the underwater tunnel may be rigidly connected as in FIGURES 5 and 10 or flexibly connected as in FIGURES 6 to 9.

In FIGURES 6 to 9 the tubes 37 and 38 have their ends connected by an elastic waterproof ring-sheet 41 fastened to each of the tubes by a metal band 40, the ring-sheet permitting some relative adjustable movement between the tube ends. Tie-ropes 42 and 43 also connect the adjacent tube ends and serve to adjust the relative position of the ends and limit the spacing d therebetween. Bolts 44 fixed in the end of tube 37 pass into aligned holes 46 of tube 38 to prevent rotational movement between tubes 37 and 38 and properly align the tubes. This flexible connection enables the tubes to be joined so as to angularly deviate from each other, for example, to slope downwardly away from each other (FIGURE 6) or upwardly away from each other (FIG- URE 7). Additionally, because the tubes may move slightly upon impact by an external force, cracking or rupturing of the tubes is substantially reduced.

In FIGURES 5 and 10 the tubes are rigidly joined together by bolts passing through flanges 47. For assembly purposes, a waterproof plastic sheet 45 is temporarily placed over the ends of each of the tubes to prevent the inflow of Water.

The underwater tunnel is constructed by first placing the anchorage 14 or 34 in place in the ground floor 21 and connecting anchor ropes 12 thereto. The prefabricated tubes 1 are launched into the water, their ends closed by temporary plastic sheets 45. Anchor ropes 12 are connected to windlasses 7, and water ballast is pumped into the ballast compartments to enable the tube to be submerged to the desired depth D beneath the water surface 16 as the windlasses are operated to wind the ropes 12. The tube is then connected to the end tube of the already constructed tunnel portion by properly aligning and placing bolts 44 into the corresponding openings 46, connecting the waterproof ring sheet band 41 around outside of the adjoining ends of the tubes, and tieing the opposed ends of the adjacent tubes together by the tie ropes or chains 43. When the ends of adjacent tubes are so connected, the end covering sheets 45 are removed to provide a continuous underwater tunnel passage.

The invention may be embodied in other specific forrns without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.

What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

1. An underwater construction comprising buoyant casing means defining a tunnel adapted to be immersed in a body of water, an anchorage for maintaining said casing means suspended in said body of water against the buoyant effect of the Water tending to cause said casing means to surface, said anchorage including elongated flexible means connected between said casing means and an anchoring structure adapted to engage the floor covered by said body of water, means for adjusting the effective length of said flexible means between said casing means and said floor to vary the depth at which said casing means is suspended in the water, said flexible means normally being pulled taut by the buoyant effect of the water upon said casing means, means providing a ballast compartment in said casing means, pump means for pumping water to and from said compartment to vary the ballast in said casing means, and means responsive to the tension in said flexible means for controlling the operation of said pump means.

2. The underwater construction defined in claim 1, wherein said casing means comprises a plurality of prefabricated tubes arranged in end-to-end relation, and means connecting the adjacent ends of said tubes to provide an underwater tunnel, said connecting means including a flexible waterproof annulus which allows relative displacement of the adjacent tube ends.

3. The underwater construction defined in claim 1, wherein'said flexible means includes a plurality of parallel rope-like elements arranged in symmetrical relation to said casing means.

4. A submerged tunnel construction comprising a prefabricated buoyant casing having a plurality of tubes extending therethrough, anchor means for maintaining said casing submerged and suspended in a body of water against the buoyant effect of the water acting thereon, a winding device mounted on said casing, a plurality of rope-like elements connected between said anchor means and said device, said device being operable to vary the eifective lengths of said elements between said casing and said anchor means to adjust the depth to which said casing is immersed in said body of water, means forming at least one ballast compartment in said casing, pump means for pumping Water to and out of said compartment to vary the ballast on said casing, and means responsive to the tension in said rope-like elements for controlling the operation of said pump means.

5. A submerged tunnel construction comprising buoyant, tunnel defining casing means adapted to be submerged in a body of water, an anchorage for maintaining said casing means suspended in said body of Water against the buoyant effect of the water acting on said casing means, means for controlling the buoyancy of said casing means in said body of water comprising means providing a variable ballast on said casing means, means for sensing variations in a load applied to said casing means, and means 1 responsive to sensed variations in the load for controlling said amount of said ballast in said casing means.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 326,544 9/1885 Case 6l42 439,841 11/1890 Hobart 6143 447,735 3/1891 Moeser 6142 486,986 11/1892 Schinke 6l72.3 X

851,411 4/1907 Ferrell 61-42 1,547,432 7/1925 Meem 6143 1,861,436 7/1932 Collins.

DENNIS L. TAYLOR, Primary Examiner

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3729939 *Sep 9, 1971May 1, 1973Shimizu SDevice for sealing water at coupling portion of tunnel tubes
US3738112 *Feb 10, 1971Jun 12, 1973Grant Alan & PartnersBridging or spanning of bodies of water
US5322390 *Jan 15, 1993Jun 21, 1994Masateru NiimuraUnderwater tunnel and an underwater mooring apparatus to moor the underwater tunnel
US5899635 *May 9, 1997May 4, 1999Kuja; Michael W.For vehicular traffic
US6450734Feb 2, 1999Sep 17, 2002Michael W. KujaTransportation underwater tunnel system
US7942607Sep 25, 2007May 17, 2011Edward Marshall BauderUnderwater tunnel
EP0552064A1 *Jan 18, 1993Jul 21, 1993Masateru NiimuraAn underwater tunnel and an underwater mooring apparatus
EP0791691A1 *Feb 24, 1997Aug 27, 1997Ballast Nedam Engineering B.V.Road tunnel and method for building same
EP2212479A1 *Sep 25, 2007Aug 4, 2010Edward Marshall BauderUnderwater suspended tunnel
WO1986006133A1 *Apr 11, 1986Oct 23, 1986Timothy John Woods BallardImprovements relating to construction of submerged roadways and other structures
WO2009039605A1 *Sep 25, 2007Apr 2, 2009Edward Marshall BauderUnderwater suspended tunnel
U.S. Classification405/135, 405/136
International ClassificationB61C11/06, B61F9/00, B61C5/00, B61C11/00, B61H7/02, E02D29/067, B61H7/00, E02D29/063, E01B25/00
Cooperative ClassificationE01B25/00, B61H7/02, B61F9/00, B61C5/00, B61C11/06, E02D29/067
European ClassificationB61C5/00, B61F9/00, B61H7/02, B61C11/06, E01B25/00, E02D29/067