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Banning dangerous goods in tunnels is not the answer, Austroads says

July 11, 2019


In its report Dangerous Goods in Tunnels, road transport and traffic agency Austroads has set out a framework for undertaking risk assessments of transporting dangerous goods in road tunnels.

“Dangerous goods are items or substances which are a risk to health, safety, property or the environment such as petrol, liquefied petroleum gas, paints, pesticides and acids,” Austroads says.

“The most common approach to transporting dangerous goods is on roads however, this can be contentious, especially when navigating through sensitive infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels or when the route is near schools or hospitals.

“The report recognises that the transport of dangerous goods carries some inherent risk but that banning dangerous goods from tunnels can shift this risk to other areas that may increase the overall risk profile and have an economic impact.

“The report provides an approach for road managers to compare the societal benefits of using a road tunnel or another surface route across a complete journey. It also provides information on the application of design methods to reduce risks,” the organisation says.

Austroads has published the report in two parts.

Dangerous Goods in Tunnels: Literature Review documents the results of an extensive literature review examining the transport of dangerous goods in road tunnels and includes international and local studies and methodologies, trial reports, and media, while Dangerous Goods in Tunnels: Application and Methodology provides a standardised assessment method to mitigate the criticism of the transport of dangerous goods through road tunnels and provide greater transparency of the decisions reached.

Austroads is conducting a second stage to its research to review and further expand on this topic. The project is due to be completed by mid-2020.

The current report is available to download on the Austroads website.

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