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January 22, 2020

 Road tunnels and technology in an operational perspective
Arild Petter Sovik, Tunntech Global News

Dramatic scenes with flames, smoke and a long tunnel will be a new Norwegian action film with a budget of over 3 million Euro. In recent years Norway have experienced several major tunnel fires that could quickly turn out to be disasters, with many killed. A real scenario well suited for an action film, they say.

A road tunnel represents the worst danger potential when it comes to heavy vehicle fires. Recent work from the Université de Lausanne by the honorary professor Jean Claud Martin focuses on this danger and the main causes of such fires. 

Database with 76 important road tunnel fires (end of the page).

Heavy vehicles are overrepresented in the statistics of fire in Norwegian road tunnels, and this is especially true for steeper tunnels. Technical problems was a more than twice a frequent cause of fires and instances of fires in heavy vehicles, than in light vehicles says the Institute of transport economics, Norwegian Centre of Transport Research. 40% of the fires in tunnels happens in tunnels with higher incline than 5%. 

A similar fire to the serious fire in 2011, occurred may 2017 in the Oslofjord tunnel. This time the extensive self-rescue measures that was installed in 2011, worked perfectly and consequences on road users became modest. Installed safety systems and self-rescue rooms seem to have contributed to this. 

On 15th July 2015 16,500 liters of petrol caught fire inside the Skatestraum tunnel in Sogn og Fjordane, after a tank trailer broke loose from the truck and ran into the tunnel wall. The tank got perforated in the crash, and fuel leaked out.

23 June 2011 it began to burn in Oslofjordtunnel due to engine failure in a truck. The fire occurred in the climb towards Drobak (about 5.5 miles from the end of Hurum, and 1.7 m from the tunnel port on Drobak) and the tunnel was quickly filled with thick, black smoke. 

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