The tunnel operator
The tunnel is continuously monitored by a tunnel operator assisted by modern equipment such as cameras, detection apparatus, traffic signals and emergency assistance posts. The tunnel operator is the road user's first point-of-contact. Depending on the situation, he can call in the tunnel maintenance service, breakdown services or the emergency services.
In the control room we have a 24-hours shedule for the operators. There we have a number of large screens on which the operators can see every movement inside the tunnel. The camera's are well positioned in order to be able to view every part of the tunnel. When it should occur that a vehicel suddenly stops, the screen inside the controlroom immediately shows the exact location. The operator reacts on the sudden stop with placing a red cross on the matrix displays of that specific driving lane and limits the speed to 50 km per hour on the other lane. This is to make sure the traffic will continue driving through safely. The operator can contact the driver of the car by using the speakers in the tunnel, or the driver can use the phone inside one of the emergency cases. Just one more small detail: the operator can see how fast the cars drive through the tunnel.
In a very short period of time, the operator can arrange for your vehicle to be towed away, like when the car broke down or in case of an accident. When there is no immediate health danger, the special road assistance service will be with you as soon as possible. This is part of the Incident Management which is active on the tunnel roads. Recovery costs will be charged to the driver of the vehicle. When necessary, the tunnel operator can alert emergency services e.g. police, fire brigade and ambulance. In case there is an immediate health danger for the people inside the tunnel (e.g. when smoke developes rapidly), the operator can also give them instructions via the speakers (hanging on the ceeling of the tunnel) to use the safety passages (transverse connections) to go to the other tunnel tube. In that case the operator also closed down the other tunnel tube for all traffic. Next to the speakers and the phones inside the tunnel, the operator can also send information to all drivers in the tunnel via the radio.