04 October 2006

Saltash Tunnel

© Mugomilk via Flickr Blog.

The Highways Agency will be holding a full-scale disaster simulation exercise in the Saltash Tunnel on Sunday, November 19, it announced today.The exercise, run in partnership with local authorities and health and emergency services, will take place at night to minimise disruption to traffic.The scenario will involve a collision between several vehicles inside the tunnel, and will test the response of fire, police and ambulance teams, Cornwall County Council emergency planning team and the Highways Agency and Tamar Bridge authorities. ©This is Plymouth.

It was also announced that the tunnel will be closed for regular routine maintenance overnights 6 and 7 October.

A few facts that I didnt know about the tunnel:

Saltash tunnel is a single-bore, three-lane tunnel situated on the A38 trunk road below Saltash in Cornwall. It is approximately 410 m long and includes a 346 m bored tunnel section with an unreinforced concrete permanent lining. The Saltash tunnel is a three-lane tunnel—the only three-lane tunnel in Europe.

Mott, Hay and Anderson—now Mott MacDonald—designed the tunnel and Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd. built it. It was opened to traffic in 1987. Its length exceeded 400 m, and Saltash was clearly a tunnel to be taken seriously. It is the only single-bore tunnel on the trunk road network and it also operates a tidal flow traffic management system. That permits two lanes for the morning Plymouth-bound traffic—all the people who leave Cornwall and come into Devon—and one lane against that flow for the out-bound traffic. That is switched after the morning peak flow for the rest of the day and during the night.

This detail comes from a Goverment Publication available online here which details some of the problems the tunnel has had since being built.

There is a nicely detailed article on the traffic flow system in use on the tunnel and the Tamar Bridge here.

"Tamar Tunnel Vision" an unusual photo taken in the tunnel

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