Tunnel upgrades for South Eastern Freeway

The Heysen Tunnels on the South Eastern Freeway in SA will receive a series of upgrades that aim to improve safety, traffic management and incident response capabilities.

On average, over 50,000 vehicles travel through these tunnels each day, with around 10 per cent of that figure being heavy vehicles.

The Australian and South Australian governments have jointly committed funding towards the Heysen Tunnels Refit and Safety Upgrade Project, with the Australian Government contributing $120 million and South Australian Government $30 million, as part of a broader South Eastern Freeway Upgrade, which also includes Stage 2 of the Managed Motorway Measures project.

Initial upgrades, including additional investigation works and the start of tunnel lining repairs, kicked off over the weekend and will take place for a period of around two months.

These works will be carried out at night from Sundays to Thursdays between 8pm and 6am.

The Crafers-bound tunnel will be closed during these periods, with the Adelaide-bound tunnel to accommodate traffic in both directions.

During works, speed will be restricted to 40km/h in both directions on the approach to the tunnels and through the down-track tunnel.

Traffic will return to normal operation, with usual speed limits, for both carriageways each morning from 6am.

The tunnel works being carried out as part of the project will include:

  • upgrading the tunnel lighting to a new LED system;
  • installing a new automated fire suppression system;
  • upgrading the tunnel ventilation system;
  • repairing the tunnel lining and installing monitoring equipment;
  • upgrading the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) equipment, including thermal incident detection systems, new and replacement CCTV, electronic speed and messaging signage and over-height vehicle detection;
  • upgrading the traffic management system to restrict access to the tunnels in the event of an emergency incident; and
  • upgrading emergency communication systems, including public address, radio rebroadcast, in-tunnel signage and help phones to improve safety and network reliability.

“The Heysen Tunnels have served South Australia well for more than 20 years now, but with technology evolving these upgrades are necessary to keep them operating as effectively as possible,” said Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tom Koutsantonis.

“These works will cause some disruption to traffic, so it will be important that people plan ahead, check for updates, allow extra travel time where necessary and obey any of the temporary speed or traffic restrictions in place.”

Though it’s not anticipated that works will be undertaken on Friday and Saturday nights, or on public holidays, advance notice will be provided via onsite message boards, project updates and social media if this changes.

Access for emergency service vehicles and to all safety ramps will be maintained at all times during these works and there is no change to public transport services.

Both tunnels will reopen if required in an emergency.

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