Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Wednesday that the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels will get a new fire suppression system next year.
The $20 million project is being funded by a federal grant and state funds.
According to a news release from the governor’s office, it will provide first responders with valuable time need to respond to a fire inside one of the tunnels.
Some of the new defenses include :
• A water-only deluge fire suppression system which is capable of suppressing a large fire (up to 35 megawatts) in the first two minutes of the event
• A system capable of providing water for 60 minutes with two deluge sprinkler zones as well as 500 gallons per minute from the existing standpipe system
• A new drainage system
• A Fiber Optic Linear Heat Detection system
“The fire suppression system will help protect the traveling public as well as this critical asset to our highway system,” said Hickenlooper. “Closure or long-term damage to one of these tunnels could cost Colorado billions of dollars and impact tourism along the I-70 mountain corridor.”
Construction is planned for spring 2015 and should be done by December. Much of it will be “invisible” to the public, officials said.
On average, 30,000 vehicles per day pass through the tunnels. Since it opened in the 1970s, the tunnels see two to three fires a year.
The design-build team selected for the project includes Barnard Construction Company, Inc., Rondinelli Life Safety/BCER Engineering, ILF Consulting Engineers, Western States Fire Protection Company, and FAS Systems Group.