Tunnel Safety Officer (TSO) forum in Rotterdam, March 2016
The TSO forum, meetings of Activity Groups and the Steering Board were organized by the Rijkswaterstaat and ITA COSUF. The first day was reserved for internal meetings of the ITA COSUF Steering Board and the four Activity Groups. The second and third day was well-filled with presentation and networking between Tunnel safety officers and tunnel safety experts from all over Europe. The site visit went to the Maastunnel in Rotterdam.
More than 50 Tunnel Safety Officers (TSO) and Tunnel Safety Experts from 14 European countries joined the 4th European Tunnel Safety Officers Forum from 9th to 10th of March 2016 in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). "This meeting was a great opportunity to support the activities, the exchange of experiences and the network of European Tunnel Safety Officers and also a chance for the dialogue in the European Union," emphasized Atilla Eordogh, representative of the European Union, the major importance of the very well-prepared event.
The two-day conference was organized by the ITA COSUF in co-operation with the World Road Association (PIARC) and the European Commission. "We connect the right people and help to learn from best practice. That´s the reason why we offer an event like that," explained Dr. Roland Leucker, Chairman of ITA COSUF, the intention of the Forum. A day before the international event the ITA COSUF Steering Board and the four Activi-ty Groups (AG) took the chance for internal meetings and up-to-date decisions.
The two-day event was dedicated to the main topics "Operating Tunnels Safely during Refurbishment" and "Commissioning and Testing of New and Refurbished Tunnels". A site visit to the Maas Tunnel – which is planned to be refurbished – was included.
After short welcome addresses of the representatives of the organizing entities, John Wheeler presented how a tunnel can be safely managed during refurbishment. Several experiences were shared and Frank Embert-Kreiser did it extensively with the noise prevention works under running traffic of the A1 Tunnel in Cologne-Lövenich. Especially the details of emergency plans which need to function while systems are changed and ad-ditional live monitoring on site were discussed. The second topic "Long-term tunnel operation below minimal operating requirements", presented by André Stein, was complemented with the A7 Tunnel case, explained by Georg Mayer. Discussions rose about the questions, how to deal with the missing or only partially working ven-tilation and about the measurements to be taken and to be changed in the different phases of the refurbish-ment.
Ahead of the Maas Tunnel visit in the afternoon the participants were welcomed at the "Euromast" by the city of Rotterdam, owner of the Maas Tunnel, the oldest road tunnel in the Netherlands – and a listed monument. To refurbish this monument, particular safety challenges have to be faced. The visit included the control centre, the ventilation building and the original escalators.
During the second day of the forum it appeared that the role of the TSO in procedures for commissioning and testing becomes more and more important. This presented topic was lively discussed. Unfortunately one key-note speaker could not attend the forum, but that gave Johan Bosch the opportunity to provide insight in the Heinenoord Tunnel accident development. A very confronting video footage showed how longitudinal ventila-tion contributes to safety and the extent on how instructions can influence mostly irrational human behaviour. Further cases taught how different tests, inspections and exercises can be planned. The importance of software development strategy for commissioning and testing was shown and it was explained how the work of TSOs can be organised in a large tunnel network. The highly skilled presentations were held by Lukas Rakosnik, Ron van den Ende, Corinne Chiodini and last but not least Johan Bosch, Leader of COSUF Activity Group 4 (Road Tunnel Safety Officers), who gave some detailed information about the activities of this group.
Finally, as an "add-on" for the remaining attendees after the official closure, the speech of Ron van den Ende about the refurbishment of the Velser Tunnel demonstrated the benefits of BIM (Building Information Management) in combination with SE (Systems Engineering) including interface management, construction phase, operations and maintenance. After a very successful meeting, profound presentations, an interesting site visit and comprehensive opportuni-ties for networking all participants and presenters appreciated that the preparations for the next European Tunnel Safety Officer Forum in 2018 just started with switching off the lights of the last presentation.