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Report claims the Port Tunnel could be unsafe in an emergency

Around 30% of motorists could miss FM “break-in” information.

Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

AN INDEPENDENT REPORT commissioned by Radio Nova has found that drivers could be in danger in the event of an incident in the Port Tunnel.

Nova are suing Transport Infrastructure Ireland, who run the tunnel, because their broadcasts are unavailable in the tunnel.

The report, by Forensic Engineer Niallo Carroll, highlights what Nova describes as “serious, ongoing issues relating to limitations in the communication technology” in the tunnel.

Due to technology limitations, only seven out of 14 commercial radio services in the Dublin area are carried. Those not carried include Radio Nova, RTE 2FM, Classic Hits 4FM and Sunshine 106.8.

The report says that this could cause problems in an emergency because up to 30% of motorists listen to stations that are unavailable.

In the report, Carroll claims that the safety of tunnel users is being adversely affected by technical limitations and describes where significant loss of life has occurred in past tunnel disasters as a result of the inability of authorities to communicate directly with motorists.

In a risk analysis, he outlines how the current communication channels employed by TII – variable message boards, public address system and emergency telephones – may not be sufficient to warn motorists of a fire or serious hazard.

“Even the most basic of risk analysis will highlight the risk to the safety of tunnel users as a result of the limitations of the rebroadcast system,” says Carroll.

“An upgrade to the in-tunnel communications system to enable safety messages to be broadcast on all licensed FM stations available in the area would increase the effectiveness of required for safety and reduce the hazard”.

He points out that the cost of upgrade would be relatively modest.

It was reported in December that Nova was preparing High Court action against Transport Infrastructure Ireland, claiming that it was suffering loss and damage as a result of rival stations being available.

In January it was announced that two other radio operators, Classic Hits 4FM and Sunshine 106.8 were to join NOVA’s action. NOVA also invited RTE 2FM to join its action as the national broadcaster is similarly not included on the channel line-up.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland have been contacted for comment.

Comments on this article have been closed as it is subject to ongoing legal action. 

Read: Now two more radio stations are taking legal action against the operators of the Port Tunnel

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