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May 20, 2019


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

The Ryfylket tunnel will be completed in 2019 and will provide connection between small communities and the large city municipality of Stavanger, Norway. A large population travel daily by ferry, and will in the future travel through this 50 km long tunnel project, consisting of three main tunnels. 

The Fréjus Road Tunnel is a bidirectional single tube tunnel that connects France and Italy and runs under the Cottian Alps between Modane in France and Bardonecchia in Italy. The tunnel represents major challenges when it comes to tunnel safety, not at least because of the steep climbs up to the tunnel, and most of the 200 professionals working in Fréjus tunnel are taking care of public safety on a daily basis. Opening up a second tunnel tube for traffic will improve safety significantly for this high-risk tunnel between Lyon and Torino. 

Haramsfjord tunnel (3.5 km), Nogvafjord tunnel (5.7 km) and Fjortoftfjord tunnel (3,7 km) in the Nordoyvegen tunnel project is a few steps closer to construction. The tunnels were initially planned with a 10 percent incline, but later reduced to 7 to 8 percent due to a growing awareness to the fire hazard in steep subsea tunnels. The tunnels are still steep and need special attention when deciding the right safety systems, equipment and other safety measures. Reducing risk for fire is a high priority issue for these tunnels.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel is the world's largest-diameter tunnel-bored road tunnel, and is located in the city of Seattle in the U.S. state of Washington. The 3.2 km and 17 meter diameter double decker tunnel opens in the fall and will carry State Route 99 under downtown Seattle and the total project will improve the Seattle waterfront significantly.

A total investment of around 260 million Euros, which is by far the largest single investment ever made in the Faroe Islands, will be invested in two new tunnels.  The Eysturoy tunnel – will be 7.1 km long and will connect the largest bay in the Faroe Islands, Skálafjørður, directly to Tórshavn. The longer tunnel will be 10.6 km long and will connect the island of Sandoy, which is currently only accessible by ferry, to Tórshavn.

Two long tunnels have been under construction in Iceland the last years. The 7,9 kilometer long Norðfjarðargöng tunnel opened earlier in November, and the 7,4 kilometer long Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel will open late 2018.

St. Pauli Elbtunnel opened in 1911 and is a combined pedestrian and vehicle tunnel in Hamburg, Germany. The over 400-meter-long tunnel was a technical sensation in the early 1900. The need for refurbishment has reached this amazing tunnel in Hamburg.

A road is a unique linear infrastructure generally in open terrain and sometimes in closed environment like tunnels. It´s important to have a uniform approach to the infrastructure safety management outside and inside tunnels. This is the conclusions the European Commission received from the research and development project ECOROADS. 

The Fehmarnbelt tunnel is set to become the world’s longest combined car and rail tunnel. There is still approvals missing before the project is finally approved by all authorities. The German government approval of the Fehmarnbelt link is expected by mid 2018 according to the Danish Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing. 

Photo: Arild P. Sovik (illustration)

Hardanger bridge & tunnels opened 17 August 2013. The bridge is a two-lane suspension bridge with walking and bicycle paths. The bridge has a main span of 1,310 meter and a total length of 1380 meter. The bridge goes into the mountain on both sides of the fjord. Both tunnels have roundabouts. One of the tunnels, Vallaviktunnelen, is 7.5 kilometer long.

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