BLOG: Inside the tunnels

“The second year of refurbishment work to bring the Birmingham tunnels in line with current EU regulations is going ahead at full steam now that we have entered the second full week of the closure period. 

Last year’s work involved primarily Civils work, which included maintaining and modifying the structure as well as the installation of LED lighting, application of fire protection and resurfacing of the carriageway. 

Before After1

This year’s work is more technically detailed from a mechanical and electrical point of view and involves removing the old air moving fans and installing new jet fans, replacing the entire electrical system (including the addition of a backup power supply for emergencies),  adding the Video Accident Incident Detection (VAID) system, installing CCTV and a PA system, upgrading emergency telephones and the inclusion of mobile phone and radio relay systems -  all of which will feed back into the new control system.

As you can imagine this makes the tunnels a very busy place 24/7. Most of the cable tray and ladder racks, where the cables are stored as they run along walls, are now in place. Work is well underway with the installation of the communications cables and over 24km of the power cable in the tunnels.

Inside Tunnel Banner1

The old power equipment and fans from the plant rooms have been disassembled and are being removed ready for the new power systems, control systems, emergency backup supplies and fire systems to be fitted. This is a tricky operation as we need to continually supply fresh air and power into the tunnels, so temporary power supplies have been set up to allow for this work. 

All of the wayfarer signs (indicating emergency exit direction and distance) have been installed are being wired up for power. Fresh paint has been applied to both plant rooms as it didn’t look like either had seen a lick of paint since the tunnels were first built!

Fan Way Banner

Fire protective coatings and fire emergency doors are all being installed and the mounts for emergency phones are shaping up well. The PA system is being assembled in preparation for installation on site along with the network of cameras in the coming weeks. 

We have a lot more work to do before September 1st and will soon see the work change from cable installation to major equipment installation before moving into the commissioning phase and final system checks.”

Alex Franklin
Assistant Project Manager