News, Transport

Norway upgrades lighting in hundreds of tunnels

New lights being installed in a tunnel, and a car parked in a resting area in the Laerdal tunnel, where lighting is designed to mimic the sunrise | Photos: Statens Vegvesen; Torw (via Wikimedia)

Norway’s roads authority is upgrading the lights in 200 tunnels across the country, as part of a $500 million, four-year improvement programme.

The upgrade programme, due to conclude in 2019, will see improvements made to tunnels on the national road network with a length of over 500 metres.

As well as brand new lighting, the tunnels will get better ventilation, new cabling, improved fire protection and better emergency communications.

The latest lighting technology presents the opportunity to save energy, make lights more reliable – crucial in a setting like a tunnel – and introduce much more sophisticated control.

Norway has 1,100 road tunnels – including the world’s longest: the 15-mile Laerdal Tunnel – and a further 50 under construction.

Some of its tunnels use unconventional lighting, including the Laerdal Tunnel, which has decorative lighting designed to mimic a sunrise in a series of open ‘caves’ along its length (pictured above), and the Oslofjord Tunnel which uses gobos to create decorative patterns.

It is thought that decorative, varied and unexpected lighting effects can help to keep drivers alert.

Some tunnels will be completely closed to traffic during the works, with traffic diverted, while others will be closed at night.


Learn more about the latest in tunnel lighting at the first Road Tunnel Lighting conference in Barcelona on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 October. The event is free for specifiers, tunnel operators and consultants working in the field. To register, visit