In 2012, Rogaland County Council took the decision to build a number of underground tunnels over the coming years. Safety and emergency preparedness will be important considerations for the programme.
Within the work on tunnel safety in Rogaland, one aim has been to establish a Norwegian Tunnel Safety Cluster, so that more different groups can come together to increase tunnel safety. Innovation Norway is now providing funding and support for the cluster through the Norwegian Innovation Clusters programme. Multiconsult helped to prepare the application, and Thor-Inge Thrana, our Regional Director for South-Western Norway, sits on the cluster’s interim board.
“This funding will enable us to do even more to facilitate, catalyse and reinforce development activities within the tunnel safety cluster. This will in turn increase our knowledge and understanding of tunnel safety, helping us to make tunnels safer for everyone,” says Thrana.
Commercialising systems to improve tunnel safety
The Norwegian Tunnel Safety Cluster is based in Rogaland. The cluster includes suppliers to the oil industry who are discovering new markets. Currently the cluster has 69 members.
“The aim is to build up an innovative and sustainable cluster to commercialise existing and new systems for improving tunnel safety in both the domestic and international markets. It is great that the government is now providing funding in this area. A large number of cutting-edge Norwegian tunnel projects are in the offing, and the principles for how we deal with major accident risk in tunnel design have not been fully developed,” explains Henrik Bjelland, a consulting engineer at Multiconsult with a PhD in fire safety in buildings and tunnels.
Contributing valuable expertise to the cluster
“We have a lot of expertise to offer to the cluster. Multiconsult has plenty of expertise and experience in relation to designing and building tunnels and caverns. Robust safety systems come about through interdisciplinary collaboration. Multiconsult is therefore in a good position to help improve tunnel safety,” concludes Thrana.