A successful seminar on "Road Tunnel Operations in Low and Middle-Income Countries" in South Africa

Cape Town (South Africa), 18 - 20 October 2017

left to right: Mr. Van Mellert (SANRAL), Marc Tesson (PIARC TC. D5 Chairman) and Tiago Massingue (SANRAL)

The South African tunnelling industry is set to grow considerably over the next few years, with numerous large projects either under negotiation or in the pipeline. At the same time, stakeholders are faced with increasing challenges in terms of funding and cost optimization, whist acknowledging the need for an increased level of safety.

Within this context, PIARC's Technical Committee D.5 on "Road Tunnel Operations" and SANRAL (the South African National Roads Agency Ltd) decided to collaborate on the organization of an international seminar on "Road Tunnels in Low and Middle Income countries" held in Cape Town, on the 18th - 20th October 2017.

The seminar, which was held at the stunning "Two Oceans Aquarium" in Cape Town, gathered around 80 international experts. Presentations focused on current concerns of low and middle income countries in terms of road tunnel operations, addressing issues such as funding options, design standards, safety standards, incident detection, optimization of operating costs, hazardous goods management and maintenance costs.

The event covered both technical and managerial aspects and was an excellent opportunity for South African stakeholders to benefit from the knowledge and experiences of other PIARC member nations, with international delegates equally taking advantage of the presence of top-level experts. It was also an opportunity to strengthen PIARC's presence on the global stage and raise awareness of the association's publications and achievements.

The South African hosts organized a highly interesting technical visit to the 29 year old strategic Huguenot Tunnel, which currently faces challenges related to the increase in traffic volume and the need for upgrading and refurbishment.

In conjunction with the seminar, Technical Committee D.5 held its fourth meeting of the current working cycle, enabling its members to present the technical reports in progress and discuss other issues relevant to the Committee's work.

Finally, several lively social events provided delegates with a chance to network and to maximize the benefit of attending the event.