Jan 03, 2019

Auto Test Course Utilizes Corrugated Steel Tunnel

Custom-engineered structural plate meets facility’s needs

Custom-engineered structural plate meets facility’s needs

The American Center for Mobility (ACM) recently built a U.S.-based connected and automated vehicle (CAV) research facility in Ypsilanti, Mich.—the heart of the automotive industry. The center is a proving ground for CAV product testing, development, validation and certification. The 500-acre site includes a driverless 2.5-mile highway loop, two double overpasses, a railroad crossing, intersections, roundabouts and a 704-ft-long curved tunnel.

The curved tunnel—the largest of its kind, provided by Contech Engineered Solutions—is 704 ft long with a 49-ft-5-in. span by 24-ft rise Deep Corrugated Structural Plate tunnel with 9- to 4.6-degree elbows. In the preliminary design stages, the engineer coordinated with Contech’s team on different tunnel concepts. The ultimate goal was to create a tunnel where an automated vehicle enters the tunnel, but cannot identify the exit. Thus, the design of a lengthy, curved tunnel was paramount to the project.

Custom-engineered structural plate meets facility’s needs

The Deep Corrugated Structural Plate solution was identified as the most cost-effective option available to the market. The custom-shaped design was able to meet the required clearance box, include elbows to transition the tunnel and create a lightweight design allowing for the use of a cast-in-place spread foundation. In addition, the contractors designed the entire structure for a Class II natural sand backfill—an economical, locally available material procured. The final design of the Deep Corrugated Structural Plate structure included cast-in-place headwalls, a lighting and mechanical system, and external waterproofing.

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By utilizing a 2-radius arch system, ACM was able to significantly reduce overall construction costs with material, foundation and installation savings.

National Corrugated Steel Pipe Assn.


14070 Proton Road

Dallas, TX 75244

United States

Phone: 972.850.1907

Fax: 972.490.4219