The city of Paris manages a network of canals including the Saint Martin canal, which connects the Arsenal pond next to Bastille to the Villette pond. Along its length, some sections are run in tunnels:

  • The Richard Lenoir tunnel, with a length of 1,932m, comprises three sections:
    • The Bastille vault, the oldest, 180m long
    • The Richard Lenoir vault, under the boulevard of the same name, 1,510m long
    • And finally, the Temple vault, built in the early 20th century, 242m long
  • The Lafayette vault, located under the crossing between Jaures Avenue, Villette Boulevard and Lafayette Street, 103m long.


The traffic on the canal consists essentially of touristic small boats, some of them with a maximum capacity of 200 even 250 passengers.


The canal tunnels present some key features in terms of risks.


Furthermore, there is not any specification for canal tunnels. In fact, a working group under the VNF (Voies Navigables de France) has produced a compilation of technical recommendations, included in the FRT (Fascicule de Recommandations Techniques).


The City of Paris launched a campaign for the improvements of the safety standards of these tunnels. This campaign based its projects on the assessment of the specific risks inherent to these structures and the analysis of the potential usefulness of the technical recommendations guidelines mentioned above for the Parisian vaults.




setec tpi, in partnership with setec organisation and setec ITS, provided the services of Project Management Assistance to the Client, including:

  • A diagnosis of the civil engineering elements of the tunnels with regards to resistance to fire and the identification of reinforcement needs
  • An assessment of the technical recommendations
  • The production of a hazards’ assessment document
  • With these elements, setec tpi provided the Client with the conclusions in terms of the requirements for fire protection of civil engineering elements as well additional equipment for the improvement of the tunnels’ safety: ventilation and smoke extraction, flighting, video surveillance, …
  • A cost and programme estimations of these works
  • The production of the tender documents for the design and construction project management contract

The technical assistance for the design and construction phases of this project was initially planned but not finally requested.


Key information

Client: City of Paris – Office of Canals of the City of Paris

Services’ fees: 285,000€

Duration:  from mid-2008 to end of 2013



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In a Nutshell