The uniqueness of the collector network lies in its invisibility, sccessibility and functionality.
What is a collector?
A collector is a utility tunnel, in other words an underground, pass-through linear structure in which utility and technical lines necessary for the smooth running of a major urban agglomeration are installed. It houses:
- water pipelines,
- heat conduits,
- gas pipelines,
- electrical cables,
- telephone cables,
- optical cables.
The more than 90-kilometre-long labyrinth of corridors and tunnels is unique not only in the Czech Republic but worldwide. The uniqueness of the network lies in its invisibility, accessibility and functionality bringing about many advantages for the operator of the system as well as for the inhabitants of the city. Teams of experts from around Europe come to see this network of collectors, considering it to be a model and inspiration for the construction of similar networks in modern European cities.
Installation and maintenance of the utility lines without digging.
When a new line needs to be laid or a failure repaired, the easy access to the utility tunnels makes the task possible without disturbing the surface activities in the area. All repair works can be carried out without digging up the pavements and roads; they are done faster and do not disrupt the lives of local citizens. Such repair works are quicker, produce no noise and dust emissions, and do not complicate in any way the normal running of the city.
Cultural heritage protection
Experts agree that the collector network is beneficial for the protected historical sites. There is around 18 kilometres of underground tunnels underneath the historical centre of Prague; the total length of the corridors in the whole city exceeds 90 kilometres. Building underground collectors in areas of historic significance is also highly appreciated by conservators since it ensures that archaeological sites are subject to only a one-time intervention. Sites containing valuable historical finds are neither jeopardized nor affected.
Longer service life of the utility lines
Pipelines and cables laid in the utility tunnels have, by definition, a longer service life than those buried in the ground in the conventional manner. The service life of the utility tunnels themselves reaches 80 years, followed by their overall reconstruction.
Modern monitoring centre
The collector network is continuously monitored by more than 16 thousand sensors checking all the important features such as temperature, concentration of gases, switching on of lights in the tunnels, opening doors, pumps and ventilators status. The running of the system is overseen by operators who know virtually immediately about anything happening in the tunnels. The location and the cause of a failure are indentified in an exceptionally short time.
The top-notch security system of the collector network is one of the best in the world.
The construction of the network was funded and the system is owned by the City of Prague.
Other advantages of the collectors
- eliminating excessive losses of the media in the event of failures or accidents,
- limiting the extent of subsequent damage on collectors, utility lines and accessory equipment,
- limiting the extent of subsequent damage on premises to which the service is supplied, on infrastructure and vegetation,
- rapidity of repair works inside the collector network and minimisation of the duration of interruptions in energy supplies,
- significant cost savings related to repair works on utilities and technical lines,
- possibility to install and repair utility lines in any time of the day and of the year,
- significantly longer service life of the utility lines .