The drivers will go through the POW tunnel this fall, road workers assure, but the schedule may be thwarted by defects and faults discovered during the investment inspection, because the contractor is called upon to remove them in such cases. This was the case, inter alia, with a damaged mechanism for controlling the flaps of the ventilation system. It took an additional month to repair.
When will the South Bypass Tunnel of Warsaw be opened? We have been asking this question for months to the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways. – By the end of September, we plan to complete the acceptance and tests, then only waiting for the issuance of the occupancy permit. We repeat it invariably that this autumn the drivers will go through the tunnel – Szymon Piechowiak, a spokesman for GDDKiA recently said in an interview with the editors of the Polska i Świat magazine.
Drivers are waiting impatiently for the last section of POW to connect the part of the expressway between the A2 motorway at the Konotopa junction with the new lanes in Wilanów and Wawer. In the latest GDDKiA announcement, he describes in detail how the technical acceptance is going on and explains what can happen if defects and faults are revealed during the course of the inspection.
Tests, checks and calibration of systems in the tunnel
Road engineers inform that currently testing, calibration and acceptance of safety systems and traffic management in the tunnel and on its detour designated by roads managed by GDDKiA, i.e. A2 and DK50, are in progress. “The need to test 13 systems and 11 tunnel control and management subsystems shows how complex and unique the task is. To do this, we need to check about 14,000 connections, or about 7,000 signals between the equipment devices and the tunnel control and management system” – explained in the message.
“We check over 130 cameras in the tunnel alone and 1,200 lighting fixtures. We verify 62 cabinets of control and measurement and automation equipment, in which from several to several dozen devices and modules dedicated to tunnel equipment systems are installed. We test devices used to power the facility’s equipment, which are placed in 112 cabinets “- road workers are enumerating.
There are also 152 flaps and ventilation systems to be inspected, which consists in opening and closing of individual flaps individually and in groups. The operation of 88 variable message signs and 28 traffic lights within the tunnel should also be checked. The tests also concern the SOS communication system, located in 38 emergency niches, as well as the monitoring system of these rooms and their equipment.
They detected a failure in the ventilation system
GDDKiA describes that in the event of failure, defects or damage, the contractor is called for repair. After its completion, another inspection is carried out, and this causes shifts in the schedule. Sometimes they last several days, but they can also last several weeks.
“An example is the damage to the mechanisms and devices used to control the flaps of the ventilation system. The process of removing its effects lasted about a month and required specialized measurement, diagnostic and repair activities” – admitted in the release.
Road engineers also explain that due to the forecast traffic volume and the location of the tunnel in a highly urbanized urban area, such tests are necessary. “We do not allow any other option than a thorough, meticulous checking of the quality and correctness of the operation of systems ensuring safety in the tunnel” – assured.
POW tunnel opening date
Only when all the checks and tests are positive. They will be followed by a fire brigade inspection, which is a condition for submitting an application to the building supervision authority for an operational permit. “It is also a complex administrative procedure. Employees of the Provincial Inspectorate of Construction Supervision must check the extensive as-built documentation, then carry out a field inspection and issue a decision on the use permit. Only this document gives us the opportunity to commission the S2 route with the tunnel under Ursynów. that it will happen in autumn this year “- reports GDDKiA.
At the beginning of July, there was a demonstration tunnel for journalists. At that time, the head of GDDKiA, Tomasz Żuchowski, indicated that the realistic date for handing over the investment to drivers is September. – We will try to make the road available to drivers in the fall. Looking optimistically, September is a possible date – he said. On Friday, “Gazeta Stołeczna” speculated that due to the pace of readers, there was no chance for it. According to the daily, road workers were too optimistic about the schedule of formalities.
The deadline for completing the South Bypass of Warsaw has already been postponed several times. Originally, the entire investment, consisting of three stages, was to be commissioned in August 2020. It was only in December, just before Christmas, that two sections were opened: from the Lubelska junction to Przyczółkowa. In the case of the tunnel near Ursynów, in accordance with the annex to the contract, the time for completion of works was extended until the end of March 2021. The reason was, among other things, a long procedure of obtaining a permit for a road investment. Then the investor declared that the drivers would go through the tunnel in the second quarter of 2021, which was also not met.
From December 22, drivers have at their disposal an over 15-kilometer section of the Warsaw South Bypass between the Warszawa-Wilanów and Lubelska junctions, along with a new bridge over the Vistula. The route can be accessed through four junctions: Warszawa-Wilanów, Wał Miedzeszyński, Patriotów and Lubelska. The total cost of building three sections of S2, forming a part of the Warsaw Southern Bypass, is approximately PLN 4.6 billion, of which nearly PLN 1.7 billion is the amount of funding from the European Union under the Infrastructure and Environment operational program.
Main photo source: Krzysztof Nalewajko / GDDKiA