(1) Organisation of the various bodies in charge
Every country has to designate an administrative authority responsible of safety in tunnels and one or more inspection bodies to carry out the evaluation tests or inspections. (In most cases, they already exist.) For each tunnel, a Tunnel Manager has to be appointed who will be responsible for safety matters; the responsibility for control will lie with the tunnel's Safety Officer.
(2) Technical standards for infrastructure, vehicles, operation, traffic rules and user information
The proposed technical standards can be put under four main headings:
- obligation to construct twin-tube tunnels (which offer much higher safety potential in the event of a fire) except if a long-term forecast shows that traffic will remain at a reasonable level;
- installation of harmonised, clear and self-explanatory signs indicating the safety equipment in each tunnel;
- improved standards for emergency exits, the distance between lay-bys etc;
Vehicles passing through the tunnels
- equipment of all heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches entering tunnels with fire extinguishers
- adequate extinguishing systems for heavy goods vehicles carrying dangerous goods or goods of calorific values greater than 30 MW
- the requirement for heavy-duty vehicles that any additional tanks must be empty when passing through tunnels
Operation of the tunnels
- definition of the main tasks for the Tunnel Manager in cooperation with the emergency services
- improved communication between the Tunnel Manager and road users inside a tunnel
- better information for road users on tunnel safety, e.g. through information campaigns at national level
The proposal concerns more than 500 tunnels in all Member States with the exception of Finland and Ireland. It covers tunnels that are in operation, under construction or at the design stage.
In most countries, tunnels will have to comply with the new standards within ten years of the entry into force of the Directive. The estimated cost for the proposal will range between 2.6 billion to 6.3 billion euros. It will be borne by the Member States.