5.1 km long tunnel in Chuncheon is the longest in Korea, equipped with high-tech equipment to prevent accidents
The longest tunnel in Korea, the eco-friendly Baehuryong Tunnel linking Shinbuk Village, Chuncheon, and Hwachon County in Kandong-myon, Gangwon Province, opened to traffic on May 30, completing an eight-year project that Dongbu Construction kicked off in 2004.
The area is known for such rough curves and steep hills that in the past three years 61 traffic accidents occurred, resulting in 88 deaths and earning the area the nickname“the devil’s sector” from drivers. With the opening of the new tunnel, drivers and passengers do not have to drive over the steep hills and dangerous curves in the area. The distance between the two locations has been cut by 2.3 km to 8.8 km from 11.1 km, cutting the driving time to nine minutes from 17 minutes.
The new 5.1 km-long tunnel is 500 meters longer than the Nungdong Tunnel linking Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province and Ulju, Ulsan City, South Gyeongsang Province, which is 4.58 km long.
Dongbu Construction introduced the cross air circulation system in the new tunnel for the first time in Korea, which not only facilitates keeping the air inside the tunnel fresh, but is also useful in putting out fires and other emergencies inside the tunnel.
The new tunnel is much better than existing ones as it has separate air flow channels, which is why the ceiling of the tunnel is flat while those of existing ones are round. The air intake facilities are situated every 10 meters and air exhaust facilities are located every 20 meters inside the tunnel. Noh Myung-shik, the manager in charge of tunnel construction, said the air intake facilities can be transformed to pump out exhaust fumes and smoke during a fire as well as the exhaust facilities, a great help as the air is full of toxic gases during a fire in the tunnel.
The new tunnel also has relief roads inside where people and cars can escape the fire and other emergencies. These roads are five meters wide linked by 21 connecting roads for people and six roads for cars to reach the supplemental tunnel. The tunnel can be turned into a two-way tunnel with a little supplementary work if the number of passing cars grows in the future.
The new tunnel is equipped with accident prevention equipment; every 200 meters inside the tunnel, a CCTV is located to warn against unusual happenings such as fire by sounding alarms, since the equipment in the tunnel can detect heat and smoke and lights automatically and reports their locations to the control center.
Also located inside the tunnel are radio rebroadcasting facilities to transmit radio broadcasts in case of emergencies. On the walls of the tunnel are emergency water hydrants that can be used to control fires.
Manager Noh said,“We used high-tech equipment for the safety of the tunnel, as it is the longest tunnel in Korea. We are also happy for our contribution to the residents in the remote areas of northern Gangwon Province by reducing the number of traffic accidents by building this tunnel.”