Sharpfibre Complete tough tunnel contract at Dartford
Fri, April 09, 2021
Leading fire protection contractor Sharpfibre has completed the installation and repair of passive fire protection contract in the east bore of the Dartford tunnel. Sharpfibre was involved from the initial design and consultation phase, seeing the project through to completion, putting together the specialist project delivery team to deliver the project on time after a complex 52-week project.
The Dartford Tunnel, which links junctions 2 and 31 of the M25 London orbital motorway, regularly carries more than 180,000 vehicles a day and is open 24/7 365 days a year. It was necessary to upgrade the fire protection of the tunnel following the introduction of the European Directive 2004/54/EC that requires that all tunnels longer than 500m belonging to the Trans European Road Network meet minimum safety requirements, particularly in relation to fires. The fire protection in the west bore of the tunnel had been upgraded in the preceding years and the east bore, a bored through construction, was upgraded in 2020.
Working with the Highways Agency and contractor Jacksons Civils, Sharpfibre designed a fire protection scheme and drew up a meticulously detailed project plan and a robust design solution which was independently tested and approved prior to the installation programme on site. This planning included supervising fire testing of the specially designed steel frame system that was required to protect against temperatures of 1350 °C for a minimum of 2 hours should a fire occur. The new passive fire protection system was also required to accommodate a static pressure of +/- 1.5 KPa caused by winds and moving traffic, whilst providing a maintenance free design life of 40 years.
Sharpfibre was awarded the project to design and install the new passive fire protection package in 2019. In order to keep the tunnel open to traffic, Sharpfibre prepared a meticulous plan for the works. Once on site, all installation works were carried out over a five day shift pattern under strictly controlled road traffic management closures between the hours of 22.00 and 05.00. Whilst the installation of the passive fire protection system was underway, Sharpfibre had to accommodate unplanned and emergency maintenance works without effect on the overall completion date. Following the meticulous planning both pre-construction and while on site, the passive fire protection works were successfully delivered 52 weeks after commencement.
Sharpfibre is an award-winning fire protection contractor based in Essex, servicing projects across the UK and beyond. Since its establishment in 1987, the firm has built up the expertise and experience to deliver complete passive fire protection packages, completed to the highest standards of quality and safety, within budget and on time.