New Fire Suppression System Slated For Eisenhower Tunnel
“It will include a variety of things including a water delivery system, a fiber optic linear heat detection system, and a new drainage system so we can better address any fires that happen in the tunnel,” said Colorado Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Emily Wilfong.
The project will begin in early spring of 2015. Currently, workers at the tunnel battle any fires manually with a fire truck that is located within the tunnel – a situation similar to Hanging Lake Tunnel in Glenwood Canyon to the west.
Wilfong notes that the existing methods of fire suppression and evacuation in the tunnels work well, but new fiber optic technology will allow first responders to pinpoint the source of the heat within feet, increasing response time.
“We want to have a more sophisticated system in there to help reduce the heat and just suppress it enough so that we can make sure that we get people out of the tunnel, and it doesn’t spread,” she said.
Road-weary I-70 travelers should know there will be little impact to drivers during the construction of the system, since most of the equipment will be installed above the highway.
“Motorists traveling through the project area may see big trucks and big equipment and pieces of this system on the side of the road next to the tunnel, but nothing will be restricting their passage through the tunnel as this system is being installed.”
Construction on the new system is projected to be complete by December 2015.