The Kinkempois and Grosses Battes tunnels form part of the E25-E40/A602 motorway link which connects the north and west of Liege to the Liège-Luxembourg motorway. When the tunnels opened in June 2000, they completed the missing link on the Amsterdam-Milan motorway, significantly reducing traffic congestion in Liege city centre and saving motorists valuable minutes every day.
Tunnel lighting upgrade for a modern tunnel network
Thanks to regular maintenance, drivers had continued to enjoy a high level of safety and comfort since the tunnel’s opening. SOFICO, the Walloon organisation responsible for managing the transport network had planned to modernise the lighting in the tunnels but this had to be brought forward following the catastrophic flooding in July 2021 which severely damaged all the equipment in the tunnels.
Smart tunnel lighting system to enhance safety and save energy
From the outset, SOFICO wanted a modern lighting system that would enable it to reduce energy and maintenance costs while at the same time optimise light levels at all times to ensure maximum safety in the tunnels. As Liege is located in the heart of the Euregio, a lot of transit traffic passes through these 2 tunnels every day (approximately 73,400 vehicles) and excellent visibility is essential to ensure safe and fluid mobility.
For the Kinkempois (750m) and Grosses Battes (375m) tunnels, both of which have 2 lanes in 2 tubes (one northbound and one southbound), we proposed a smart tunnel lighting system using the state-of-the-art TFLEX luminaire range and the the Advanced Tunnel Control System (ATS 4), which was co-developed by Schréder and Phoenix Contact.
Excellent visibility to keep traffic moving safely
Given the high traffic density in these tunnels, a robust luminaire with photometric performance was essential. Incorporating the latest technologies, the newly launched TFLEX range with its sturdy design was ideal. Its photometric engines provide a bright white light with unrivalled visual performance to ensure high comfort and excellent visibility with minimal energy consumption.
The compact TFLEX LINE is mounted on the ceiling (4.80m) in a continuous line down the centre of the tunnels, providing symmetrical lighting to balance the luminance levels on the road and walls. The highly efficient TFLEX LINE provides perfect visual guidance and excellent uniformity throughout the two tunnels.
Tunnel entrance lighting for a smooth driving experience
The TFLEX COMBI and TFLEX MODULE were installed in a parallel line to the TFLEX LINE at the entrances to both tunnels to reinforce the lighting and avoid the “black hole effect”. They ensure that drivers entering the tunnel have a clear view and experience no discomfort.
The TFLEX BASE was also supplied for the safety lighting throughout the tunnel.
The LED lighting provides excellent colour rendering, giving drivers an excellent perception of the tunnel environment and enabling them to quickly identify any obstacles.
Smart lighting to optimise management and costs
All of the TFLEX luminaires and optical units are controlled by the ATS 4. This tunnel lighting control system adjusts the light levels in the tunnel according to the natural level of daylight and traffic speed, meaning that the tunnel is never overlit or underlit to ensure safe and comfortable driving conditions (in accordance with the Belgian national lighting standard NBN L18-003 and the CIE curve) while reducing energy consumption to an absolute minimum.
In normal operating mode, three different scenarios have been programmed to adapt the light levels according to the speed of passing vehicles in the tunnel (80 | 70 | 50 km/h).
The lighting system integrates the SCADA platform that manages all the electromechanical equipment in the road tunnel network so that it can be managed and monitored 24 hours a day from the control room in the nearby Tilleuls centre. An intuitive interface allows tunnel operators to quickly adjust the lighting in the event of an emergency or accident.
The ATS 4 will also enable tunnel operators to plan lighting maintenance more effectively, as each luminaire feeds back information on its status to the system.
Quick installation and commissioning for minimal disruption
Due to the high volume of traffic passing through the tunnels on a daily basis, SOFICO decided to replace the lighting during the summer months when there is an average of 5,000 fewer vehicles per day (approximately 80,000 users per day). Nevertheless, the team only had a matter of weeks to dismantle the old equipment and install the new system.
We worked closely with the installation partner, Genetec, to meet the tight deadline for the reopening. Thanks to the simple “plug and play” installation of the luminaires, power and control cables equipped with tool-less connectors, everything went smoothly and efficiently.
The ATS 4 system integrated the tunnel lighting study which enabled the individual auto-addressing of the TFLEX LINE luminaires, resulting in a short commissioning process of just a few hours, saving valuable time and resources during the installation.
A modern tunnel that performs for all
The new smart lighting system has ensured a safe, comfortable, sustainable and modern tunnel for at least another 20 years by:
- improving safety and the driving experience for motorists;
- enhancing traffic flow on this busy motorway link;
- increasing operational performance and minimising disruptions;
- reducing energy and maintenance costs.
We are delighted to have worked on this project with our partners to enable SOFICO to reduce its operating costs while delivering a much better service for commuters.