Safer lighting for Swiss tunnel 09 Mar 2017

Tridonic News Release  

The Schallberg tunnel on the Simplon Pass, Switzerland has received new LED lighting components from Austrian based Tridonic which has improved safety and reduced energy consumption and maintenance costs. The extensive work took around two and a half years to complete and has transformed the old dark 1970s construction into a modern tunnel packed with state-of-the-art technology.

Improved lighting in tunnel interior
Improved lighting in tunnel interior

The 45km long Simplon Pass between Brig and Iselle is one of the most important transit routes in the Swiss Alps. This Swiss national highway, open all year round, services an average of 2,500 vehicles every day. The route features numerous tunnels, galleries and bridges, most of which have been in operation since the 1960s or 70s and are now in great need of renovation.  

Renovation of the 500m long Schallberg tunnel at the start of the pass was necessary due to aging of the original structure. “This was a complete renovation job, involving all the tunnel elements. Among other things, we repaired the two galleries, built a new escape tunnel, lowered the road in some places to provide adequate clearance for trucks, and put down a new road surface,” said Mark Siegenthaler from ASTRA, the Swiss Federal Roads Office. Also renewed were the operational and safety equipment, the ventilation system, the power supply, the control system and the lighting.

With a focus on safety, visual comfort and energy efficiency the Schallberg tunnel with its new lighting is now bright and inviting. A total of 100 transition zone luminaires and 150 interior zone luminaires from Swiss tunnel lighting specialist Rigamonti were used in combination with the white reflective tunnel walls. Tridonic provided the inner workings of the luminaires, and components for the emergency lights on the walls, the escape route lights, the escape route indicators and the escape exit signs.

Reduction of accident risk was possible due to new transition zone luminaires in the entrance and exit zones where conditions change abruptly. The new LED modules are based on the high-efficiency RLE series developed specifically for tunnel lighting in accordance with specifications from Rigamonti.  

Each transition zone luminaire contains two LED modules supplied with an operating current of 350mA, a power draw of 112W and a luminous flux of 18,350lm. The last three luminaires in the transition zone have only one LED module, providing a gentle transition to the interior zone. The luminaire housing is low-profile due to LED technology, and luminaires are 1,550mm long and 170mm wide but only 40mm deep.

For lighting in the interior zone new customised LED modules were developed with five LLE modules in each luminaire. At an operating current of 300mA the interior zone luminaires need 38.25W and provide 6,365lm. With an emission angle of 120° and a light colour of 6,500K, they and the transition zone luminaires together generate the recommended average carriageway luminances of 45cd/m2 in the entrance zone and 3cd/m2 in the interior of the tunnel.  

In addition, Drivers from the Premium series ensure optimum operating conditions for the LEDs. The 1-100% dimmable constant-current LED Drivers have adjustable output currents and integrated overtemperature, short-circuit and overload protection.  

The new LED solution complies with the current standards of the Swiss Engineers and Architects Association (SIA) and will reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs. LED inserts can be replaced without the need for tools, and have a specified life of up to 100,000 hours. This translates into eleven and a half years of continuous operation.

The Swiss Federal Roads Office ASTRA invests around 30 million Swiss Francs each year on maintenance and optimisation measures at the Simplon Pass, especially in the area of safety, and has completed numerous projects on this route in the last few years.

Tridonic is the technology company in the Zumtobel Group and has headquarters in Dornbirn, Austria and operates in more than 50 countries worldwide.


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