C&D help keep 'Brumtunnels' safe

Autumn 2014 sees the culmination of a two year project to bring Birmingham's 40 year old city centre road tunnels up to current European safety standards. Known locally as ‘Brumtunnels' the multi -million pound project was undertaken by Amey on behalf of the Birmingham City Council.


In July & August 2013 the first stage of the project involved structural changes which included strengthening the central wall between the two carriageways, creating impact barriers and adding new escape openings.
A new LED lighting system was also introduced. The work necessitated 24hr closure of the tunnels, and considerable effort was made by all parties to minimise the effect on the city centre traffic.


Commencing in July 2014 the second half of the project also required 24hr closures. Considerable local press coverage was used to make commuters fully aware of the temporary disruption.


Responsible for major electrical power installations and refurbishment of the 40 year old infrastructure, VVB Engineering  were contracted by Amey based upon their experience with similar projects.

One of the most important upgrades was carried out on the ventilation system. 25 new ‘jet fans' were installed by VVB in the roof of the tunnels spread along its length. These fans were connected to air quality monitors and also to the fire response systems. The powerful fans would remove smoke from the tunnels to allow safe evacuation in the event of a fire.


To allow maintenance or repair of each fan, locally mounted 125A Isolators were installed in the roof of the tunnel. Craig & Derricott supplied these items to the project through Newey & Eyre (Birmingham). Due to the long distances involved in this project the isolators were specially designed to accept oversized cables which were necessary to prevent volt drop/power loss.


To comply with the latest safety standards all electrical equipment associated with smoke extraction must keep working even under high temperature conditions. Such equipment is known as ‘Fire Rated' and the isolators supplied by Craig & Derricott meet class ‘F400'. This classification ensures that equipment will remain working for a minimum of 2 hours at 400oC.


Craig & Derricott also supplied industrial isolators for the installation of the CCTV cameras.


Also installed during the project:-
27 PA speakers
21 CCTV cameras
32 Vehicle detection cameras
48 Emergency phones
4 Digital variable message signs
160+ Way-finder signs
7 Controlled evacuation doors
40+ Miles of cable.


Click to see C&D's range of 'Fire Rated' switch disconnectors.