By the end of the next year, Delhi would have a new landmark — the Indira Gandhi International Airport’s upcoming air traffic control (ATC) tower, which at 102 metres would be the country’s tallest ATC tower.
Private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) claims that not only will it be the seventh tallest ATC tower in the world, it would also have earthquake-resistant technology which will be used for the first time in India.
With its considerable height and slender design, the new ATC tower will not only be susceptible to strong winds but could have also faced huge damage in case of an earthquake. Keeping in mind that Delhi falls in seismic zone 4, the tower will use a ‘Tuned Mass Damper’ to make it earthquake resistant.
The tower will have a 50 Tons Tuned Mass Damper that will prevent the tower from extra sway during wind and earthquake. This technology works like a pendulum where during strong vibrations, it will sway in the opposite direction to which the building is moving, thereby producing a counter-balancing and stabilising force. The damper would be supported by suspension rods on four sides so that it doesn’t sway on its own when there is no vibration.
“The Tuned Mass Damper is being used for the first time in India. It will also ensure that the personnel working inside the tower under stress get a comfortable working environment,” said a DIAL spokesman.
Initially planned to be opened by mid-2012, the tower is now expected to be ready by December 2013 and should become operational by early 2014.
It is expected to cost Rs. 350 crore and will be built at a more centralised location at the airport, so that air traffic controllers can have a clear view of all three runways, aprons and taxiways.
The present ATC complex and 60-metre-high tower was built in 1999 and are at a considerable distance from the third runway constructed in 2008.