ITA COSUF Hosts Workshop and Site Visit

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ITA COSUF workshop

The participants of the ITA COSUF workshop in Hamburg, Germany.

Networking is one of the most important activities of modern business life. For the members of ITA COSUF this is a lived experience. “Regularly we organize for our members this private workshop to use our excellent network to discuss and inform about the latest topics in the field of operational safety and security in underground facilities,” explains Dr. Roland Leucker, chairman of ITA COSU. Most recently, ITA COSUF organized a workshop and Oct. 28-29, 2015, in Hamburg, Germany.

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Around 30 ITA COSUF members took the opportunity to visit the Elbe Tunnel with a Tunnel Ventilation Demonstration, the Elbe Tunnel Control Center and the Operating Center of Hochbahn (metro and public transport operator of Hamburg) in the northern waterside metropolis.

RELATED: ITA COSUF Reports Recap International Safety Legislation, Regulations and Guidelines

The workshop, meetings of Activity Groups and the Steering Board were organized by the Landesbetrieb Straßen, Brücken und Gewässer Hamburg (LSBG – the state agency of roads, bridges and water) and ITA COSUF. The first day was reserved for internal meetings of the ITA COSUF Steering Board and the four Activity Groups. The second day was filled with technical presentations, site visits to the Elbe Tunnel with Control Room and Tunnel Tube and as well the Operating Center Hochbahn (metro and public transport operator of Hamburg).

Technical Presentations

Practice is nothing without theory and following this idea, the participants were informed about some interesting details in the morning of October 29. First of all, Christina Kluge, LSBG Tunnel Safety Officer, gave a short overview on tunnels and large scale projects in the Hamburg area with a focus on operational safety. Karl-Heinz Reintjes of DEGES (the state-owned highway planning and construction company) gave a presentation about the three new tunnels on the motorway A7 as part of an extension project. Next, an overview of the refurbishment program and the safety concept of the Elbe Tunnel was given by Christina Kluge, who also described the lessons learned from incidents that happened at the Elbe Tunnel. Finally, Rainer Petersen, LSBG Senior Traffic Engineer, explained the new automatic system for fast incident detection at the Elbe Tunnel.

Elbe Tunnel with Control Center

One of the highlights of the workshop in Hamburg was the visit to the Elbe Tunnel Control Center from where all tunnels are operated. The four Elbe Tunnel Tubes are connecting the southern urban area of greater Hamburg with the northern part of the metropolis. Almost 124,000 vehicles per day are crossing under the river Elbe in these four tubes and for this reason the Elbe Tunnel is one of the busiest road tunnels in Europe. Some smaller incidents and a few vehicle fires occur during a year. Moreover, the road authorities are structured to manage traffic dynamically between the tubes. However, due to its well recognize safety concept, the Elbe Tunnel is one of the safest road tunnels worldwide. The new ventilation concept after upgrade and in the new tube means that 64 jet fans produce the necessary ventilation under daily operational conditions. In case of a fire, eight axial fans and 196 dampers extract the smoke at both ends of the tunnel.

After a brief introduction of the different functions of the control center, COSUF members learned that the control room will be made fit for the three new road tunnels of the extension of the motorway A7. The most adventurous part of the Elbe Tunnel visit was the walk into one of the four tunnels with a spectacular demonstration of the smoke extraction system. The COSUF specialists were very impressed by the organization and the performance of this outstanding Tunnel Control Center.

Hochbahn Operating Center

The afternoon has been reserved for the second highlight of the Hamburg workshop, the visit of the Operating Center of the Hamburg Hochbahn. From this center the whole underground metro system (more than 100 km long) and large parts of the bus system in Hamburg are operated by the Hamburger Hochbahn. Around 111 bus routes and four underground lines in the Hamburg greater area under the control of this center.

Center of Excellence

ITA COSUF is the first committee of the ITA, the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, founded in 2005. It is the Center of Excellence consisting of approximately 80 corporate member organizations and companies from 25 countries all over the world. The World Road Association PIARC is also supporting ITA COSUF. Since the beginning, COSUF is a platform for communication on operational safety and security in underground facilities. COSUF welcomes individual and corporate members with or without membership to ITA.

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