Tunnel Regulations

Regulations in Austria

By ordinances based on the Road Traffic Act (Strassenverkehrsordnung StVO) restrictions are imposed for the carriage of dangerous goods on certain tunnel routes. The restrictions do not apply to carriage under ADR.

1. Restrictions on highways

These restrictions are based on the Ordinance by the Federal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology concerning Restrictions for Transport Units carrying Dangerous Goods through Highway Tunnels (Verordnung der Bundesministerin für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie über Beschränkungen für Beförderungseinheiten mit gefährlichen Gütern beim Befahren von Autobahntunneln, BGBl. II Nr. 395/2001).
It distinguishes between two tunnel categories, A from 1000 to 5000 m and B from 5000 m onwards. Hence, these categories are not linked in any way to those of the ADR. Only the terminology used corresponds to each other. With respect to the field of application and legal conduct no problems evolve because both subjects can clearly be distinguished from each other.
Although the regulation is constructed legally as a prohibition with exceptions with regard to its content it does not exclude dangerous goods from being carried through highway tunnels but stipulates instructions to use orange warning lights and in some cases a qualified escort.
On the basis of a Slovenian-Austrian agreement similar provisions apply for the Karawanken Tunnel.
Concerned transport units have to use an orange warning light, which has to be turned on before entering the tunnel and through the tunnel.
When especially dangerous goods are transported (transport units subject to marking with orange-coloured plates with certain hazard identification numbers) through tunnels longer than 5000 m, then these transport units furthermore have to use a qualified escort, that meets special requirements.
The regulation of the Ministry can be found on the website of RIS (Legal Information System of the Republic of Austria), with a link at the end of this article. Concerning the individual provisions an overview can be found at the end of this article.

2. Regulations on other roads than highways

Regulations of the regional authorities for other roads partly provide for the same measures and partly others such as registration, transit permissions of the tunnel station or minimum distance.
Concerning the individual provisions an overview can be found at the end of this article.

The System of ADR

1.9.5 ADR provides for restrictions for the passage of dangerous goods through road tunnels. Currently, this system is not in use in Austria, but will be described shortly.
Following a risk assessment, which includes considerations of availability and suitability of alternative routes and modes, road tunnels may be assigned to one of five tunnel categories:
A. no restrictions
B. restrictions for dangerous goods which may lead to a very large explosion
C. in addition, for dangerous goods which may lead to a large explosion or a large toxic release
D. in addition, for dangerous goods which may lead to a large fire
E. for (almost) all other dangerous goods transports which require marking