The Ministry of Transport has issued a statement saying it is concerned about how many points regarding the safety of the Hvalfjördur tunnel in west Iceland were criticized in a recent report on behalf of EuroTAP (European Tunnel Assessment Programme) and intends to follow it up.
Minister of Transport Kristján L. Möller (pictured) met with director of the Public Roads Administration Hreinn Haraldsson yesterday, Morgunbladid reports.
The Public Roads Administration made an evaluation of the tunnel in 2007 but will now review its evaluation in light of EuroTAP’s criticism. The tunnel operator Spölur’s remarks to the EuroTAP report will also be taken into consideration.
The ministry said in its statement that it is of utmost importance that such evaluations are thoroughly conducted and are based on reliable data. It must be made sure that the Hvalfjördur tunnel fulfills all safety requirements made by the EEA.
Germany’s and Europe’s largest automobile club ADAC conducted the survey for EuroTAP, evaluating safety factors in 26 tunnels in Europe. Four tunnels were given a poor review and the Hvalfjördur tunnel scored the lowest, mbl.is reports.
The factors contributing to the poor review include lack of emergency equipment, escape routes and air conditioning.
The report states that since there is no automatic alarm system in the tunnel, the tunnel must be closed manually and the fire department contacted specifically in case of fire and so valuable time can be lost.
The report also states that the conditions in many tunnels across Europe are such that the tunnels are unable to fulfill new European safety regulations that will take effect in 2014.
The most common problem is lack of loudspeakers to warn drivers about accidents, lack of fire hydrants and poor lighting.
The tunnel which scored the highest is a recently constructed tunnel outside Paris.
Click here to read the survey (in German) on ADAC’s website.