WSP | PB to overhaul, upgrade MARTA tunnel ventilation systems

Posted on February 3, 2016

MARTA station
Photo: Chris Yunker/Flickr
MARTA station
Photo: Chris Yunker/Flickr

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has awarded a design-build contract to Archer Western Construction with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff as the lead designer to overhaul and upgrade its tunnel ventilation systems.

The rehabilitation and renewal project will involve restoring the existing system to a state of good repair through a combination of repair, rehabilitation or replacement of tunnel ventilation equipment. The scope entails 16 tunnel segments with existing ventilation equipment.

As the lead designer, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s services include evaluation of the existing system to establish ventilation requirements based on the configuration of MARTA's existing infrastructure and projected temperature ranges of a potential fire, preparing design and performance criteria for ventilation equipment, overseeing the factory testing of the manufactured equipment, and the acceptance and commissioning of the installed system.

The WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff team will perform electrical system studies, egress analyses and tunnel fan scenarios to support updates to MARTA's supervisory and control system for remote monitoring and control of the ventilation system, and will also prepare sustainability plans, conduct training and compile operations and maintenance manuals to help ensure that MARTA has the proper tools to successfully manage and maintain the tunnel ventilation system long-term.

MARTA's tunnel ventilation system covers approximately nine miles of subway tunnel and underground rail stations, representing about one-fifth of the rail system's total footprint. The ventilation system includes a network of fans and dampers that effectively control and direct air flow during normal rail operations and in emergency situations. The agency has identified the renovation and renewal of its aging system as a top priority to maintain optimal functionality and state of good repair.

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has worked on Atlanta’s rapid transit system since 1962 when it developed a feasibility study that recommended a regional rail system with feeder bus operations for the Atlanta metropolitan region. In 1966, the firm formed a joint venture to assist the newly created MARTA in developing plans for the system. Over a period of 40 years a series of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff-led joint ventures served as MARTA’s general engineering consultant for the continued expansion of transit service in Atlanta.

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