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MOTOREX Magazine 2020 117 EN

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REPORT GOTTHARD ROAD

REPORT GOTTHARD ROAD TUNNEL FAN REPLACEMENT IN SECTION 64 In the longest road tunnel in the Alps, huge fans ensure that operations can continue safely by replacing over 600,000 cubic meters of air per hour. Every ten years, these MOTOREX-lubricated “lungs” have to be refurbished. Basel Lucerne Bern Zurich GÖSCHENEN There’s a draft. As there should be, because air quality in tunnels is strictly regulated. Opened in 1980, the Gotthard Road Tunnel between Göschenen and Airolo is no exception. With 11 intake and 12 exhaust fans and 178 exhaust vents, the climate in the Gotthard Tunnel can be controlled in all conditions. Normally this is done automatically using a built-in system of sensors which measure wind, visibility, carbon monoxide, traffic, air pressure, and temperature. The system is monitored and, in emergencies, controlled manually at the operations and command post in Flüelen. Emergency actions can also be carried out from the Göschenen operations center. CONCEALED IN THE CEILING The air ducts and fans in the 16.9-kilometer tunnel are concealed, built into the ceiling. The turbine-like fans are accessible from above for regular maintenance. The space above the fans also contains the hydraulic system that adjusts the blades to control airflow and the 12

© Uri Public Works dept. Every year over 6.4 million vehicles use the key transalpine traffic artery. 4.50 m Zuluft Fresh air Abluft Exhaust air The ventilation stack sits 526 meters above fan no. 21 on the Gotthard Pass. Car pictures: vecteezy.com 7.80 m lubricant circulation system for the rotor bearings. The various fan models weigh anywhere from 16 to 30 tonnes. A fireproof panel built into the tunnel ceiling gives access to each fan from the roadway so it can be removed from below. The process requires a complete shutdown of the tunnel and is very costly in terms of logistics and manpower. 24 HOUR REPLACEMENT TURNAROUND An overhauled, working replacement unit for each of the five different fan types is always in stock at the Airolo maintenance center. When the time comes for a major overhaul, Michael Zgraggen (mechanical team leader at the Flüelen maintenance center) springs into action with his ten-person crew. This time a general overhaul is scheduled for the fan in tunnel section 64. The tunnel is shut down from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Once it’s closed, a team on the roadway removes the fireproof panel from beneath the fan while mechanics above get the unit ready to remove. Space is extremely MOTOREX MAGAZINE 117 I JANUARY 2020 13

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