Austroads spotlights dangerous goods in tunnels research

Tunnel ban can increase overall risk on alternative routes, peak body says

Austroads spotlights dangerous goods in tunnels research
The report's front cover


Road transport and traffic organisation Austroads has released a report that sets 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 notes.

"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," Austroads says.

"It also provides information on the application of design methods to reduce risks."

Read Austroads' response to the ATA's concern on its truck width research, here

Austroads expects stage 2 of its research (Dangerous Goods in Tunnels - ART6122), due for completion mid-2020, will review and further expand on this topic.

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has previously stated it does not support the current approach of applying a blanket ban on dangerous goods vehicles travelling through tunnels, suggesting instead it should be objectively assessed against the risks of using an alternative route.

More information is available via the Austroads Literature Review and Application and Methodology documents.


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