Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels Receive Tiger Grant Funds for Fire Suppression System

September 5, 2013 - Central Eastern Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - DENVER— The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Colorado will receive $10 million for a fixed fire suppression system at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels (EJMT) on the I-70 west corridor.

The I-70 EJMT fixed fire suppression system is one of 52 projects in 37 states selected across the nation to receive funding.

“The fire suppression system will help protect the traveling public as well as this critical asset to our highway system,” said Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Executive Director Don Hunt.  “A closure or long-term damage to one of these tunnels could cost Colorado billions of dollars and impact tourism along the I-70 Mountain Corridor so it is critical that we move forward with this project.”

The fire suppression system would not completely extinguish a vehicle fire but rather buy critical time needed for first responders to safely approach the scene and take action.

Historically, the EJMT complex has experienced two to three fires a year since the opening of the tunnels in the 1970s. While CDOT has first responders and firefighting equipment as part of the EJMT complex, the fire suppressant system will serve as another critical tool in battling these fires and keeping the traveling public safe and the interstate open.

The $10 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant combined with $5 million provided through House Bill 13-1252, which was signed in May 2013, will provide more than half of the funding for the $25 million project.

“The importance of this project has been recognized and strongly supported at both the state and federal level,” added Hunt. “Without that support, the installation of the fire suppression system would likely still be an idea rather than a reality.”

CDOT hopes to have the fixed fire suppression system installed by fall 2016.

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About the TIGER Discretionary Grant Program
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. Department of Transportation to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives. Congress dedicated $1.5 billion for TIGER I, $600 million for TIGER II, $526.944 million for FY 2011 and $500 million for the FY 2012 round of TIGER Grants to fund projects that have a significant impact on the Nation, a region or a metropolitan area.