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Proteus: a frontrunner in fighting fires

Since 2013, Mont Blanc tunnel firefighters have used some of the most specialized trucks in the world, equipped with all the latest innovations, called Proteus. These vehicles were developed with the Tunnel workers, firefighters from Chamonix and Courmayeur, as well as French and Italian experts. Each truck represents an investment of 800,000 euros. The Proteus has a reservoir of 12,000 litres, with water pressure lasting up to 20 minutes. Its two hoses have a range of 60 meters while using a variable spray gun. A start and go” button on the side allows it to be switched on immediately. Proteus is also equipped with thermal cameras, the latest generation in radar, and a low profile cabin in order to advance regardless of visibility in the tunnel.

Janus at the museum!

Janus, a specialized fire fighting vehicle developed specifically for the Mont Blanc Tunnel, has been donated by the ATMB to the Haute-Savoie Firefighters Museum (Sciez). It has with two control heads - hence its name - and was equipped with the latest technology of the time. Commissioned in 2002, it was replaced by Proteus in 2013.

A new tool for Centralized Technical Management

The Mont Blanc Tunnel uses a totally new tool for Centralized Technical Management (GTC). This computerized safety equipment control system incorporates the latest technologies in data processing and simulation tools for team training. It continuously analyses more than 100,000 pieces of data from the various monitoring tools located throughout the Tunnel: cameras, smoke detectors, thermometers, etc. In the event of an incident, the operators in the control room rely on this centralized technical management system to activate appropriate safety measures immediately, in line with pre-established procedures: signage display, ventilation, interrupting traffic flows by lowering barriers at entrances and inside the tunnel, etc.

 

More than 100,000 analysed checkpoints to activate safety measures immediately.

Form the roads based on specific Tunnel rules

Regularly, staff the European Economic Interest Grouping of the Mont Blanc Tunnel (GEIE-TMB) the European Economic Interest Grouping of the Mont Blanc Tunnel (GEIE-TMB) organize information and awareness sessions for transportation professionals. They aim to draw attention to the importance of strict observation of safety and traffic rules in the Tunnel: maintaining a distance of 150 meters from the vehicle ahead of you, stopping and cutting the engine immediately if your vehicle breaks down or starts smoking. These sessions, which allow GEIE - TMB staff to network with transportation professionals around the message "Vigilance, a shared responsibility", always go down well.

3 environmental initiatives

- A bridge for hikers

The GEIE Mont Blanc Tunnel teams constructed a 27 meter-long bridge above the Creusaz torrent. It will allow hikers to safely continue hiking the trails between the Chamonix city centre or Dard waterfall and the Bossons glacier and Aiguille du Midi.

- Tunnel: water air conditioners

After a test period, 24 water air conditionners were installed in the tunnel in order to be more environmentally friendly. This initiative makes the GEIE-TMB a leading user of natural sources.

- Green energy to power the tunnel

Electrical energy from France is 100% green. Since January 1st, 2016, all of the electrical energy consumed in the Tunnel comes from solar, wind and hydraulic processes.

Preserving air quality

Since 2002, the oldest heavy goods vehicles (Euro 0.1 and 2) have been gradually banned from the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Traffic regulations set by the French and Italian governments have resulted in over 90% of heavy goods vehicle traffic being Euro 5 and 6, the highest in environmental standards. Trucks using the Tunnel amount for less than 1% of fine particle emissions in the valley.

The 2015 Air-Rhône- Alpes study (association approved for air quality monitoring in the Rhone- Alpes) shows that in the Arve Valley, a majority of nitrogen oxide emissions are from transportation, this being 69% of total emissions. Emissions from heavy goods vehicles account for 20% of global emissions. Emissions from the residential sector account for 16%. This spread of emissions is of the same order as that found in the Haute-Savoie department.

History of the tunnel

1949

Signing of a French-Italian agreement to start drilling a tunnel under Mont Blanc.

1953

Signing of a national charter for the construction of the tunnel ratified by the Italian Parliament (1954) and French parliament (1957).

1959

May 30th: Official launch of construction by French and Italian public work administrators.

1962

August 3rd : The joining of the French-Italian drilling teams is a success: the axis deviation is less than thirteen centimetres.

1962-1965

Work on developing the tunnel.

1965

July 16th : Inauguration by General de Gaulle and President of the Italian Republic, Giuseppe Saragat. Opened to traffic on July 19th.

1978

a network of surveillance cameras are installed

1990

the first part of a multi-year modernization program is implemented.

1997

commissioning of a fire detection system

1999

March 24th : A fire in the tunnel resulted in 39 casualties. A monument was erected to their memory on the access road to the tunnel.

1999-2002

A €400 million program for civil engineering work and equipment is carried out.

The European Economic Interest Grouping of the Mont Blanc Tunnel (GEIE-TMB) is created. It will be the French-Italian operator, responsible for the unitary management of the construction at its reopening.

2002

March 9th: Gradual reopening of the new tunnel to traffic.

2012

September 15th : 50th anniversary of the drilling of the Mont Blanc Tunnel

2015

July 19th : 50th anniversary of opening to traffic.

Safety in the Mont Blanc Tunnel in figures

157 cameras; 3,860 heat sensors; 35,000 control points; 40 lighted signs; 116 safety stations; 37 shelters; 1 independent evacuation route under the entire length of the Tunnel; 116 fire stations; 11 firefighters present 24/7; 4 specialized intervention trucks.

 

Over €400 million was invested to open a new Tunnel in 2002.

a safety tunnel