Eisenhower / Johnson Memorial Tunnels Fixed Fire Suppression System Design-Build Project (Tunnels)
Following the example set by highway departments in Europe and Australia, which have been updating their firefighting capabilities in tunnels in recent years, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) sought a system that would provide the greatest flexibility in suppressing different types of fires and best protect the travelling public in its Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnels. Despite having an excellent, up-to-date firefighting team on location in the tunnels 100 percent of the time, the Department decided to take a further step in fire protection and detection. CDOT sought a partner to offer a solution and a design that would be affordable and least impactful to the more than 30,000 vehicles that each day travel through the twin, 1.7-mile-long transportation tunnels near the top of Loveland Pass, two of the highest elevation transportation tunnels in the world.
Barnard responded with a team of our own. The Barnard EJMT Team awarded this complex project in August 2014 included the creative force of Rondinelli Life Safety/BCER Engineering as fire protection engineer and lead design manager, ILF Consultants, as our civil and tunnel engineer, Western States Fire Protection as our fire protection installation sub and FAS Systems Group LLC, as the fire detection controls engineer. The Team designed and constructed a new, comprehensive fixed fire suppression system (FFSS) within the existing tunnel structure. This FFSS was accompanied by a cutting-edge fire detection system and an integrated control system that is straightforward in its operation for CDOT personnel as they continue to manage other aspects of tunnel maintenance and operations at the same time. The FFSS is a deluge fire suppression system that is capable of suppressing a large fire in the first two minutes of an event and providing water for 60 minutes within two deluge sprinkler zones. Our design used CDOT’s current overhead air plenum system, to minimize the amount of new construction required within the 1.7-mile roadway space within the tunnels. The FFSS can provide first responders the critical time they need to safely approach the scene and take action. It is a valuable tool in combating tunnel fires, keeping the public safe and protecting the tunnel structure while minimizing disruptions to traffic.