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NFPA Highway Regulations

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) is responsible for maintaining and creating minimum standards for fire suppression and prevention. The NFPA covers numerous areas, from traffic safety products to firefighter equipment. Listed below are NFPA regulations for traffic control equipment.

Limited Access Highways
Arrangements should be made for fire response from nearby emergency squads as part of the highway planning process. If there is an access route that allows outside aid organizations to enter the facilities, emergency procedures should factor in that route in their plans. Precautions need to be taken at entry points to control traffic, allowing emergency vehicles or equipment to enter quickly and safely.

Elevated Highways/Bridges
A traffic control device needs to be installed to warn vehicles to proceed with caution or stop completely in the event of a fire. Traffic should not be allowed to interfere with or block emergency fire equipment response. If the bridge or highway is higher than 400 ft. (120m), it should be equipped with a standpipe system to provide adequate water supply.

All drainage systems need to collect and channel flammable or hazardous liquids. To prevent spillage below the highway, expansion joints will need to be designed. In addition, all critical structural components should be protected from high temperature exposure and collision that may result in the collapse of the elevated highway or bridge.

Road Tunnels
The exact NFPA requirements will depend on the length of the tunnel. However, all primary steel and concrete elements will need to be protected, regardless of size or length. The structure must be capable of withstanding a 120 minute fire exposure to meet these requirements. Tunnels built from cast iron or steel linings should not exceed temperatures of 572ᵒ F (300ᵒ C) during a direct fire.

Under fire exposure, the tunnel should not produce toxic fumes or smoke. When fully saturated with water, the air should have a less than 5% humidity-by-weight ratio. In addition, an automatic fire detection system or CCTV system is required for locating, identifying, and detecting the fire.