You know when Captain Planet is in retirement and the Planeteers are nowhere in sight, the only way to avoid New York City’s huge subway system from flooding during the full fury of Hurricane Sandy could very well have been this gigantic inflatable plug which managed to hold back simulated flooding when tested by the Department of Homeland Security. This gargantuan plug is said to hold a whopping 35,000 gallons of air or water, which is the equivalent of a medium-size backyard swimming pool, and when inflated, it is capable of sealing off a subway tunnel entrance. Hmmm, if only Bruce Wayne had this in The Dark Knight Rises, allowing Lucius Fox to avoid getting drenched at the end of the movie. It is rather unfortunate that only a single prototype of this giant inflatable plug was developed by the time Hurricane Sandy experienced landfall, and it will require a couple more years at the very least before the tunnel plugs will be considered for action.
Dave Cadogan, director of engineering at ILC Dover, said, “We used the same design and manufacturing techniques we use in space suits and inflatable space habitats. The webbings and underlying layers form a tough barrier that is strong and resilient to damage.” Well, I guess it is better late than never, and hopefully we will see this huge inflatable plug go into action should there be a hurricane or superstorm headed our way sometime down the road.