James P. Crawford, 61, founding president of Shotcrete International Inc., general contractors here, died Thursday at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He had undergone surgery for gallstones and other ailments.

He had founded the firm, which is located in Chevy Chase, in 1970. It specializes in tunneling and other construction work and had been involved in work on the stations for Metro as well as work on the Inner Loop.

Mr. Crawford was born in Ironton, Ohio. He was a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He served with the Army Air Forces in World War II.

He began his professional engineering career in the San Francisco Bay area and in the late 1940s went to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where he became involved with work on the Alaska Highway, known as the Alcan Highway.

Later, Mr. Crawford helped develop oil pipe lines in Saudi Arabia. He returned to the West Coast, where he worked as an engineer, then moved East, where he developed tunnels in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

He came to Washington in 1968 and was living in Chevy Chase at the time of his death.

Mr. Crawford was active in the American Concrete Institute. He was the author of articles on the Shotcrete process of constructing with cement and presented papers on the process at a number of international conferences.

He is survived by his wife, Carole, of Chevy Chase; a daughter, Nancy Crawford of New York City; two brothers, Ralph, of Antioch, Calif., and Carl, of Dixon, Calif., and two sisters, Ernestine Wiseman of Castro Valley, Calif., and Marliene Ridolfi of Antioch.