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International Seminar "Binational Mountainous Road Tunnel Operations"

15-17 April 2015, San Juan (Argentina)

This International Seminar held in San Juan, Argentina, it gathered over 180 attendants from Argentina, Chile and Peru, as well as Technical Committee 3.3 members from Asia, Australia and Europe.

Preparatory Documents for the International Seminar

Summary of the Seminar

The sessions focused on topics relevant to long binational road tunnels located in isolated, high altitude areas, a geography common to the central Andes mountain range that divide Argentina and Chile on the southernmost part of South America.

Particular issues were: experience gained in the operation of existing binational tunnels in Europe; the existence of one or two control centers; the coordination of control and operations by national administrations involved; response to incidents; operational and health problems associated to high altitude locations and severe mountainous conditions; fire characteristics in high altitudes; risk evaluation tools and methodologies; importance of binational agreements to guarantee efficient joint operation of tunnel infrastructures; training of emergency and rescue services as well as users' education.

A first lecture presented the Agua Negra Binational Tunnel project, a twin tube, 14 km long road tunnel, located between San Juan (Argentina) and Coquimbo (Chile) on the international border, at a mean altitude of 3,800m. These mega civil works are urgently needed to expand Latin American economies and promote political and cultural cooperation across the South American continent.

The effects of high altitude on the human physiology were presented by the head physician of a high altitude big mining industrial settlement. He detailed the time related phases of human responses to exposure to high altitude and very cold weather.

The European experience on the operation of binational tunnels such as the Mont Blanc, Col de Tende, Somport and Bielsa highlighted the existing coordination in operational routines and emergency drills due to their binational character. In addition, experts from Chile, Argentina and Perú compared their operation methodologies in some important regional tunnels (Cristo Redentor, Túnel Subfluvial, and La Pólvora) with the European current ones.

The program included a one full day technical visit to a segment of recently completed mountainous road segment of the Porto Alegre (Brazil) - Coquimbo (Chile) Central Road Corridor, where the use of road tunnels proved to be a powerful tool to solve serious topographic and environmental constraints.

You will find more information on: http://www.seminariodetuneles.com.ar/(in English and Spanish.)

Slideshow of the International Seminar in San Juan

  • Tribune of the seminar

  • Audience of the seminar

  • Closing speech by Ignacio del Rey, TC3.3 Chairman

  • Speech on tunnel emergency services by Les Fielding, from U.K.

  • Technical visit: group picture at the Mushroom, Ischigualasto Provincial Park