Overnight closures upcoming at Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels

July 7, 2016 - Statewide - Fire suppression systems testing planned for mid-July

Overnight closures at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels are scheduled to begin Sunday, July 10, to test the fire suppression systems installed in 2015 as a part of the $20 million Fixed Fire Suppression System (FFSS) project to improve safety at the tunnels.

The westbound tunnel will be closed overnight from Monday, July 11 through Thursday, July 14. The eastbound tunnel will be closed overnight from Monday, July 18 through Thursday, July 21. Closures will be in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night and drivers will be detoured over Loveland Pass.

There will also be a right lane closure at North Tunnel on Sunday, July 10 from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and a right lane closure at South Tunnel on Sunday, July 17 from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

Once per year, 20 percent of the water valves will be opened to test the FFSS. Testing will continue in zones until 100 percent of the valves have been tested for approval according to the five year maintenance requirements and warranty of the contractor. After five years, all of the valves will be “exercised” and the testing can start over. Testing must be done to make sure a valve has not corroded and will be effective in case of an emergency. Testing requirements will be ongoing throughout the 30 year expected life of the system.

In accordance with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), testing must also be done of the FFSS to adhere to the Tunnel Operations Maintenance Inspection and Evaluation (TOMIE) Manual.

Aside from the sprinkler testing, tunnel staff will also take advantage of the full night closures to perform maintenance and inspection work on lighting, water, roadway and structural elements of the tunnels.

Because twenty percent of the sprinkler zones will be turned on, spraying water over both lanes while technicians are conducting tests, each tunnel needs to be completely closed. 

The fire suppression system allows the remote release of water, if needed, without having to enter the tunnels. The system better protects one of the state’s most valuable highway assets that connects the Front Range with the Western Slope and facilitates interstate commerce and also increases the safety of the traveling public.

PROJECT INFORMATION: For more information on this project, visit codot.gov/projects/EisenhowerFireSystem. For information on I-70 travel conditions, visit COTrip.org, download the CDOT Mobile app, sign up for GovDelivery or call 511. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot and CDOT’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/coloradodot