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ITA COSUF: 2 Days full of Practice and Theory. Private Workshop with Visit to Elbe Tunnel and Operating Centre Hochbahn gave excellent Insights

Lausanne (CH), 11 December 2015.- It is very well known that 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 COSUF the intention of the latest event in Hamburg/Germany on October 28 to 29, 2015 (Fig. 1). Around 30 ITA COSUF members took the great opportunity to visit the Elbe Tunnel with a Tunnel Ventilation Demonstration, the Elbe Tunnel Control Centre and the Operating Centre of Hochbahn (metro and public transport operator of Hamburg) in the northern waterside metropolis.

Joint Invitation and Organisation
The workshop, meetings of Activity Groups and the Steering Board were organised by the Landesbetrieb Straßen, Brücken und Gewässer Hamburg (LSBG, State Agency of Roads, Bridges and Water Hamburg) 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 well-filled with technical presentations, site visits to the Elbe Tunnel with Control Room and Tunnel Tube and as well the Operating Centre 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 Thursday, 29th October 2015. First of all Christina Kluge, LSBG Tunnel Safety Officer, gave a short overview on tunnels and large scale projects in the Hamburg area with focus on operational safety. After a presentation from Karl-Heinz Reintjes, DEGES Head of department Civil Engineering Structures, about the three new tunnels on the motorway A7 in the course of the A7 extension followed general information about the refurbishment programme and the safety concept of the Elbe Tunnel again from Christina Kluge. She also described the lessons learned from incidents 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 Centre
One of the highlights of the workshop in Hamburg was the visit to the Elbe Tunnel Control Centre from where all tunnels are operated (Fig. 2). 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 have structured to manage traffic dynamically between the tubes. However, due to its well-recognized 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 realize the necessary ventilation under daily operational conditions. In case of a fire 8 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 centre the COSUF members learnt 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 (Fig. 3). The COSUF specialists were very impressed by the organisation and the performance of this outstanding Tunnel Control Centre.

Hochbahn Operating Centre
The afternoon has been reserved for the second highlight of the Hamburg workshop, the visit of the Operating Centre of the Hamburg Hochbahn (Fig. 4). From this Centre 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 Centre.

Joining ITA COSUF is very easy. It´s not needed to be an ITA member and for this reason ITA COSUF welcomes corporate and individual members.

Centre of Excellence
ITA COSUF is the first committee of the ITA, the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, founded in 2005. It is the Centre of Excellence consisting of approx. 80 corporate member organisations and companies from 25 countries all over the world. The World Road Association PIARC is also supporting ITA COSUF. Since the very first beginning COSUF is a platform for communication on operational safety and security in underground facilities. Only the best specialists in the field of tunnelling are discussing in four different activity groups about the latest developments.


Figure 1: The participants of the ITA COSUF workshop in November 2015 in Hamburg/Germany

Figure 2: Elbe Tunnel Control Centre controlling 124,000 vehicles per day in four tunnel tubes

Figure 3: Very spectacular demonstration of the smoke extraction system in one of the Elbe Tunnel Tubes

Figure 4: Operating Centre of the Hamburg Hochbahn

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