The Resilient Tunnel Plug (RTP) is a scalable technology that is intended to plug rail, automotive, or other tunnels from threats, including water. The development system was a 16.2 ft diameter, 32 ft long inflatable structure capable of long term operation of 17psi. It was configured to deploy from a container mounted inside the tunnel. The inflation system pressurizes the plug rapidly and maintains its pressure over its operational life.
The Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate led the RTP development program which included Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, West Virginia University and ILC Dover. The RTP was originally developed for isolating sections of rail transit tunnels in response to an event such as:
- Release of chemical/biological agents
- Other threats.
There are many possible configurations of deployable softgoods technology, including inflatable plugs, tensioned fabric structures, and hybrid systems. These can be designed to perform water or gas arresting functions in virtually any tunnel architecture, including tunnels, vent shafts, and stairways. Systems can be fixed in place and perform autonomously, or they can be transportable for manual installation.