DHS Testing Tunnel Plug

The inundation of subway and vehicle tunnels caused by Hurricane Sandy makes the ILC Dover product even more appealing.

An ILC Dover product named the Resilient Tunnel Plug is being tested in an airplane hangar at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va., to see whether it can successfully block flooding inside large tunnels as designed. Vicki Smith of the Charleston Gazette reported Nov. 8 that WVU researchers are working with employees of Frederica, Del.-based ILC Dover and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)to test the product.

According to ILC Dover, the plug is an inflatable structure 16.2 feet in diameter, 32 feet long, and capable of long-term operation at 17 psi. The product’s development program was headed by the DHS Security Science & Technology Directorate and involved DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, WVU, and ILC Dover.

Hurricane Sandy's storm surge flooded subway tunnels in New York City and closed some traffic tunnels for a time. The plug, which has been tested to 25 psi "in a test of what is one of the world's most highly stressed textile assemblies ever," is meant to seal sections of transit or rail tunnels against flooding, releases of chemical or biological agents, or other threats, according to ILC Dover.

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