The Runehamar test tunnel. R and D of tunnel technology and the need of full scale tests

Fires in road tunnels have happened more frequently over the last decade. To be able to prevent such fires, there is a need for understanding the specific elements related to fires and tunnels and how these matters influence each other. Laboratory testing has long been usual, fullscale testing is more rare. The Norwegian contribution to tunnel research is an abandoned tunnel, upgraded with equipment to execute full scale fire tests. As a part of the Norwegian R and D program on fire proof water and frost insulation for tunnels, The Runehamar test tunnel is of major importance. The aim of the program is to develop fire resistant solutions to replace the PE foam heavily used in low traffic tunnels. The Runehamar test site is located 5 km from the town centre of Aandalsnes. Aandalsnes is a small town with beautiful surroundings in the western part of Norway. The Runehamar tunnel is about 1650 m long and the cross section is about 50 m2. The tunnel has a small slope (1 - 3 per cent) downwards (going west) and a slight curve going north. The site of the tunnel, length and shaping make the Runehamar Tunnel ideal as a tunnel for research and development of tunnel safety technology. Fires in European tunnels in recent years have clearly shown the risks and consequences of fires in large vehicles. The fire in the Mont Blanc tunnel in 1999 involved 20 semitrailers and more than 50 people have died in these recent fires in road tunnels. Nevertheless, knowledge of the growth and spread of fires in semi-trailers is very limited. The most recent fires in the Eurotunnel (1995), the Mont Blanc tunnel (1999), the Tauern tunnel (1999) and the St. Gotthard tunnel (2001) showed that such fires can develop very high energy release (150-600 MW), involving a dozen or so vehicles. Large scale fire tests were conducted in the Runehamar tunnel in 2003. The benefit of such a test tunnel will be related to the fact that every research activity conducted in this tunnel will be in full scale. Previous laboratory tests can be evaluated in realistic conditions and environment compared to real expectations (A). For the covering abstract of the conference see ITRD E212343.

  • Authors:
    • BUVIK, H
    • HAUG, R G
  • Publication Date: 2006


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01102595
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Jun 16 2008 8:03AM