Another landmark can be added to Dubai’s long list of superlative projects: The Beirut Tunnel. This airport tunnel is the longest and widest of its kind in the Middle East. It was recently officially opened to the public by Dubai Deputy Ruler and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The Dh686 million 1.6km tunnel, which is part of a major road network with seven short tunnels, has four lanes in each direction, shoulders and pavements, and is expected to ease traffic flow in the city in general and the vicinity of the airport in particular. The number of people using the airport is projected to reach 42 million by 2020.
It took two years to complete this project.
A well-equipped tunnel:
The electromechanical and civil engineering works of the Beirut Airport Tunnel include the Intelligent Transportation System comprising 12 electronic traffic sign boards installed at intersections (outside the tunnel), 13 traffic sign boards, 115 cameras for the authorities to keep a check on the traffic situation inside, four power generators inside and two main generators located at the either ends of the tunnel, a special communication equipment for GSM to allow motorists to stay connected through their mobile phones. There are 401.6t fans, 32 electronic units for detecting carbon monoxide levels. Besides, there are 75 emergency telephones along the walls of the tunnel, which is lit using 6,583 lighting units.
The project involved excavation and removal of 2 million cubic metres of earth, while the body of the structure required 550,000 cubic metres of concrete and 1,890 ramps, each 22m long and weighing 66t. The inside walls have been covered with 80 collages made in 75,000 cubic metres of marble.
Automatic Incident Detection:
Within this prestigious project, Traficon was responsible for supplying a state-of-the-art Automatic Incident Detection (AID) system. This intelligent system is the fastest system for detecting all kinds of traffic incidents that disturb normal traffic flow and safety. Within 10s, the VIP (Video Image Processing) module will automatically alert traffic operators of any incident occurring in the tunnel (e.g. stopped vehicles, wrong-way drivers, fallen objects, slow-moving traffic and queue). From within the central control room, equipped with permanent video monitoring, the operator can verify the details of the alarm. From then, the operator can dispatch police resources or he may suggest driver advisory actions through variable message signs.