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Office of International Programs

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Global Benchmarking Program

Tunnel Fire Protection Using Fixed Fire Suppression Systems: Advanced Practices in Australia and New Zealand

Tunnel Fire Protection report cover

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is responsible for assuring that highway systems in the United States are safe and reliable. New highway tunnels in the United States are vital to the national highway system. In Miami, port traffic has been removed from the downtown area thanks to a modern and safe tunnel facility. A new tunnel to replace a seismically vulnerable viaduct in downtown Seattle will restore the waterfront, facilitate new public space, and allow drivers to more easily reach or bypass the downtown area. These important structures are an example of how tunnels impact local communities in positive ways.

After conducting a desk review in 2017, FHWA determined that Australia, New Zealand, and Japan were global leaders in the deployment of Fixed firefighting systems (FFFS) technology in tunnels. FFFS help tunnel owners improve user safety, increase long-term structural resilience, and make use of fire and life safety functional advantages. The Global Benchmarking Study (GBS) set out to better understand the success gained in these three countries by conducting a technical site visit to both New Zealand and Australia and by corresponding with highway authorities from Japan. This report details the information obtained from the GBS to include FFFS design, construction, operation, and maintenance. In addition to confirming the effectiveness of FFFS in tunnels, the GBS team intends to share this information with the tunnel community, inform tunnel owners, and improve the level of safety in tunnels across the nation.

Page last modified on January 28, 2019
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000