Safety inspections, as explained in Chapter 4 of the technical Report 2009R08 (Safety Inspections of Road Tunnels) are a tool to assess the current tunnel safety level either within a legal framework (European Directive for instance) or against an accepted level of risk. PIARC has developed an organisational scheme based on the EU Directive 2004/54/EC to describe the chain of safety responsibility concerning safety inspections and clarify the responsibilities of the involved parties. It also proposes the contents of a safety inspection (infrastructure and systems, safety documentation and existing procedures, tunnel management organisation, training and quality assurance) along with a comprehensive roadmap with all the necessary steps and preparation needed to carry out a safety inspection.
A road is a linear traffic infrastructure which is generally located in open terrain and sometimes in a closed environment like tunnels. It is important to have a uniform approach to road safety management outside and inside tunnels. For tunnels, it is necessary to take additional considerations into account which requires expert opinion from tunnel safety/tunnel operation experts, including information from the tunnel operator, the tunnel manager and the Traffic Control Centre. Safety inspections in tunnels often require a more complex evaluation than on open roads.
Transition areas between tunnels and open roads are of particular interest in terms of their impact on road safety. Diversions, as a result of entire or partial tunnel closure due to maintenance works or incidents in the tunnel, are situations that can often have an increased risk. Hence, it is just as important to evaluate such exceptional situations as the regular tunnel operation.