Heysen Tunnel Refit and Safety Upgrade

Customer: Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT)

Contract: Construct only

Location: Crafters West, SA

Transport Solutions Australia

Fast Facts

  • Provides the most direct connection between Adelaide and Melbourne

  • Major refit and upgrade of the Heysen Tunnels

  • Key corridor connecting Adelaide and Adelaide Hills

  • Construction commenced in March 2023 and be complete by late-2024

McConnell Dowell on behalf of the Department for Infrastructure and Transport has been appointed as the Managing Contractor for undertaking a major refit and upgrade of the Heysen Tunnels to address current tunnel elements that are at the end of their service life, improve safety and provide improved traffic management and incident response capabilities.

The South Eastern Freeway provides the most direct connection between Adelaide and Melbourne.  It is a key corridor connecting Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills.  As part of the National Land Transport Network, maintaining efficient operation of the Freeway is recognised by Infrastructure Australia as a nationally significant issue.

More than 50,000 vehicles travel through the tunnels each day, around 10 per cent of which are heavy vehicles.

The scope of works includes:

  • Upgrading the tunnel lighting system to a new LED configuration
  • Installing a new automated fire suppression system
  • Upgrading the tunnel ventilation system
  • Repairing the tunnel lining and installing monitoring equipment
  • Upgrading the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) equipment including thermal incident detection systems, new and replacement Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), electronic variable speed and messaging signage and over height vehicle detection
  • Upgrading the traffic management system to restrict access to the tunnels in the event of an emergency incident
  • Upgrading the emergency communication systems, including public address, radio rebroadcast, in-tunnel signage and help phones to improve safety and network reliability

The South Eastern Freeway Upgrade Project will improve the incident management, safety, and reliability of the South Eastern Freeway by extending Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

This will include the installation of a lane use management system, variable speed limit signs, and emergency crossover gates in the median to provide formalised temporary crossover points for traffic to be quickly shifted to the opposing carriageway in the event of a crash or breakdown which may require up-track or down-track closures. This will help to keep traffic moving, easing congestion, reducing delays, and minimising the potential for secondary incidents.

Initial activities and tunnel lining repairs commenced on 19 March 2023.  The project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2024.

The animated video below details the works to be completed.

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