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UK’s Saltash Tunnel gets hi-tech safety upgrade

First publishedin World Highways
March 2019
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More than US$1.5 million of new safety equipment is being installed in the Saltash Tunnel in England
The UK's Saltash Tunnel is undergoing a major US$1.53 million upgrade to the incident detection system to provide quicker detection of vehicle fires and other incidents.


The scheme will see close to 5,000m of cable installed inside the 410m tunnel on the A38 in the county of Cornwall in England.

Overall design of the new system and integrated control systems are from PDS – Paul Ducker Systems – and includes smoke detectors from UK firm SICK Sensor Intelligence and SmartVision fiber-optic temperature sensing systems from AP Sensing in Germany. Way-finding signs are from Roomfoss.

All the systems will be aligned to the public address system – installed along with a new CCTV system two years ago - to direct drivers to the safest tunnel exit in the event of an incident, according to Highways England.

The tunnel, which opened in 1988, has a speed limit of 50kph and a reversible central lane to cope with holiday and rush hour traffic. Each day, more than 38,000 motorists use the tunnel  that was designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson, built by Balfour Beatty and has a design life of at least 100 years.

Highways England said it will hold joint emergency test exercises with the fire services and police when work is finished sometime this spring.

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