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March 25, 2019

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

In Stavanger, Norway, 18. - 19. June 2018 ​will The Norwegian Tunnel Safety Cluster bring together tunnel operators, policy makers, fire and rescue services, researchers and the tunnelling industry to spark innovative solutions and methods to improve tunnel safety (Conference Website and Conference Registration)

Experts from businesses and public bodies from all over the world use the well-known Hagerbach Test Gallery in Switzerland to perform research, development, testing and full-scale experiments. The VersuchsStollen Hagerbach AG facilitate cooperation between companies, associations and research institutes, to improve construction, operation and safety of tunnels with a professional approach.

Operation and maintenance is important to ensure the value of assets over time. Furthermore, it is important to be able to manage the cost over time, and not least, ensure that construction and technical installations do not adversely affect safety.

Road authorities in South Africa are looking into how to renovate and improve operation and safety in the Huguenot tunnel, a 4 km single tube tunnel located at the national road (N1) near Cape Town. 

The successful past work of the Association in the area of road tunnel operations will be built upon by Technical Committee D.5 (Road Tunnel Operations).

The World Road Association is a non-profit association that promote international cooperation on issues pertaining to roads and road transportation. It consists of a wide range of members from every part of the globe. The core members are road agencies representing over 120 countries. The Association mobilizes the expertise its members to share and develop information for the benefit of the global transportation community, a mission that is grounded in the needs of member countries and supportive of larger trends in global society. It fulfils this mission through operations guided by a 4-year Strategic Plan.

The mission of the World Road Association is to serve all its members by being a leading international forum for analysis and discussion of the full spectrum of transport issues related to roads and related transport. Identifying, developing, and disseminating best practice and giving better access to international information, fully considering within its activities the needs of developing countries and countries in transition designing, producing and promoting efficient tools for decision making on matters related to roads and related transport.

The committee on tunnel operations will work in several working groups and deliver each reports on the subject. The working groups are:

  • Sustainable Operations
  • Safety
  • Human Factors & ITS
  • Ventilation & Emissions
  • Large Underground and Interconnected Infrastructure
  • Knowledge Management

The technical committee, which have been the mainstay of the Association’s work, remain the principal medium for study and development of knowledge products. Constituted for the full four years, the Committee execute work plans based on the parameters set by this Strategic Plan from the PIARC Council. Included in this is responsibility for convening international seminars as a mechanism for sharing information.

Weblink: https://www.piarc.org/en/ 

To make portal area more traffic safe, there has been a desire to look into systems to prevent icing. This study shows that a snow melting heated pavement system can have promising prospect for extensive application.

The point cloud created by the laser scan is mainly used to evaluate the conditions of the pavement but can also be used to gather data from the side area and the tunnel walls. The report from such a scanning gives the necessary data for analysis and give the tunnel operator a chance to follow up the development of the road surface, the rock conditions and the construction, from one year to another. 

The last drill and blast is done and there is now access from both sides in what will be the longest subsea tunnel ever build. The Ryfast project is the historical largest road project in Norway, and it's more than five years since construction work started. Opening of the tunnel is towards the end of 2019. 

Life cycle and life cycle costs (LCC) aspects becomes more important and especially for complex tunnels with a high operation costs and challenges to keep open 24/7. Its important to consider these aspects in the planning and the design of the tunnel, and make sure this is a part of the evaluation of the different alternatives. 

Several bicycle/pedestrian tunnels have been build in the world. There is now available new knowledge and understanding of how a bicycle/pedestrian tunnel has to be constructed and equipped to be a safe expressway for pedestrians and bicycles. 

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