FutureFLEX Air-blown Fiber solution used for bridge expansion project

Oct. 26, 2005 - Structure is one of the largest hinge-less bridges in the world.

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave today announced the successful installation of its FutureFLEX Air-blown Fiber infrastructure for the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission's major expansion of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.

The bridge is one of the largest hinge-less bridges in the world and the fourth busiest commercial border crossing between the U.S. and Canada.

The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission reports the successful completion of the FutureFLEX infrastructure and a 10,000-foot fiber blow linking its Lewiston-Queenston Bridge to the border control plazas in the towns of Lewiston, N.Y. and Queenston, Ontario. The fiber path terminates at the commission's new operations center headquartered in Lewiston to which security, state-of-the-art video surveillance, toll facility, and traffic systems data from the bridge are delivered. Participating in the Canada-U.S. FAST program, through which commercial drivers are pre-registered with customs authorities, the commission has added a fifth lane to the bridge and has installed a new traffic control system to reconfigure the lanes for a faster and safer passage across the border.

Paul Janhunen, the commission's facilities and operations manager, said the FutureFLEX system was chosen over a conventional optical fiber backbone because the air-blown fiber infrastructure better complies with the Border Hardening provisions of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Since fiber is blown on demand with nitrogen through tube distribution and fiber termination boxes, the FutureFLEX system eliminates dark fiber, conventional fiber pulling practices and the exposure of utilities. The FutureFLEX infrastructure eliminates the crews that would otherwise have to close lanes and portions of the bridge to re-enter the conduit systems in order to pull additional fiber. The air-blown fiber system is designed to allow network moves, reconfigurations and upgrades to be achieved quickly and easily even in secure and limited access areas-typically taking hours rather than the days of work needed to accomplish the same project through conventional cabling methods.

The savings in manpower is substantial since conventional fiber pulling requires installers at many locations, whereas the FutureFLEX system necessitates only a few installers, usually at the fiber termination endpoints. The ability to control quickly the local area network (LAN) and to manage redundant data through the FutureFLEX point-to-point infrastructure, which minimizes the number of connections points, facilitates quick disaster recovery and restorations, thereby optimizing fast response and transmission rates necessary for crisis management.

"By having adopted the FutureFLEX infrastructure rather than a conventional fiber optic backbone, we are prepared to quickly change or upgrade our network to correspond with changes in traffic, emerging technology, and new security mandates," says Michael O'Reilly, IT manager for the commission. "We're not stuck with what could be obsolete fiber or waiting for long upgrade projects to happen. Instead, we can meet network project deadlines quickly and focus on providing the best service possible."

The commission will continue the expansion project to include new traffic control signage and new advances in its security video network.
Sumitomo Electric Lightwave is based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. For more information visit www.sumitomoelectric.com.

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