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Damaged soffit keeps fire-hit tunnel closed


FIRE DAMAGE TO London's 1.5km Limehouse Link tunnel last month was much worse than thought, Transport for London said this week.

Investigators said repairs will take until Monday at the earliest, because a 250m 2 area of the tunnel's soffit needed replacing.

The tunnel was closed on 30 October following a fire on a double decker bus (News last week).

Temperatures are believed to have exceeded 600°C in the blaze, which was hot enough to melt the aluminum-framed vehicle.

The fi re did not cause structural damage to the twin-celled tunnel, constructed of 1m thick reinforced concrete walls topped with a 1m thick roof slab.

But the heat of the blaze damaged top layer concrete and exposed bottom reinforcement in the roof over an area of around 250m 2. This section must be replaced before Transport for London will allow the tunnel to be reopened.

The tunnel is maintained by the Road Management Services consortium of Alfred McAlpine, Amec, Dragados and KBR under a 30 year private fi nance deal to design, upgrade and maintain a 20km section of the A13.

Last week its engineers cleared damaged lighting and cabling and cut back fire damaged concrete.

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