The project was important, as it helped to not only link several parts of the country, but also was necessary to help with traffic management. In some areas, travel times were reduced by more than one hour. Construction of the tunnel began in 2008 and was complete in September 2020 at a cost of $870 million.
Clear communications are essential in highway tunnels for employee and passenger safety. For example, in an emergency, such as an evacuation or an individual who needs assistance.
The project management team was looking for a solution that would provide clear communications in the tough conditions of a tunnel, which includes extreme noise and temperatures (low and high) and high humidity levels. The solution also needed to be vandal resistant.
Other objectives included providing operational efficiencies and a better decision-making process for emergency situations.
The team worked with C3 Critical Communication, a Zenitel Center of Excellence located in Bogota, Colombia, and installed 100 Zenitel TCIS-2 IP and SIP intercoms on SOS “smart poles” every 150 meters (164 feet) for emergency communications inside the entire tunnel.
The TCIS-2 is a vandal-resistant intercom that provides crystal clear audio in all conditions. The TCIS-2 is also ONVIF compatible, which means that users can integrate and map Zenitel solutions with other security systems, while giving security teams more tools to manage not just video but also audio under the same control interface. Additional features that make it especially suited for the difficult tunnel conditions include an IP66 rating, a die-cast aluminum frame, and a 10W Class D amplifier.
Each TCIS-2 on each SOS pole has a single backlit button that when pressed, generates a call to two different control centers that notifies staff that someone needs assistance. The calls are recorded to ensure transparency and quality. The SOS system can manage several simultaneous calls, such as if calls are generated from several poles at the same time.
The SOS pole system is integrated into the tunnel’s SCADA system, which allows for additional product integration and operator control of system administration, status, and operation.
The integrators on the project were Colsein and 1Solution.