In 1953, the Memorial Tunnel in Standard, WV, was constructed as a two-lane, 2800 ft (853 m) tunnel with semi-transverse ventilation. The owner operated the tunnel until the mid-1980s when a four-lane bypass was constructed to upgrade the turnpike to current Interstate standards. The tunnel was abandoned until 1989 when the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in conjunction with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), embarked on the Tunnel Fire Ventilation Test Program using funding from the Central Artery Project.
The test program consisted of performing controlled test fires up to 100 megawatts. These intense fires then provided valuable information for the design of ceiling wall partitions and the protection of facilities for power, ventilation, and lighting. In addition, it provided the opportunity to develop and evaluate methods of proper ventilation control of a tunnel under various fire scenarios.
Parsons Brinckerhoff was retained to perform the test program. As part of that test program, an evaluation of the structural condition of the tunnel was performed and structural repairs were designed. A critical part of the design was to insulate structural portions of the tunnel for temperatures in excess of 2000 °F (1143 °C).
The rehabilitation program for the reuse of the tunnel required the sealing of all cracks in the tunnel liner because the bedrock around the tunnel contained low-flashpoint cannel coal. In addition to sealing the cracks, extensive structural rehabil-itation of the liner was performed to repair damage caused by the excavation for the bypass on the adjacent highway. Numerous products were evaluated to determine which would provide suitable fire protection for the structural elements of the ceiling and for mechanical equipment anchorages. The test program included the use of traditional venti-lation with a tunnel ceiling and tests with the ceiling removed for the use of jet fans. The construction contract for the rehabilitation of the tunnel and the removal of the ceiling had a projected cost of $10 million.
During the test program of 98 fires, routine inspection of the tunnel was performed to evaluate the performance of the fireproofing. Based on the performance of certain structural elements, changes were made in the use of structural fire-proofing and code requirements for the protection of equipment. After the test program in 1991, the