Too-high lorries led to 11,000 road closures last year

The Velser tunnel ventilation shafts. Photo: By Jahoe via Wikimedia Commons
The Velser tunnel ventilation shafts. Photo: By Jahoe via Wikimedia Commons

Lorries and other high-sided vehicles caused Dutch road closures 11,000 times last year because they were too high for tunnels, according to transport ministry figures.

The ministry’s roads department has now launched a campaign to ensure drivers pay more attention to the warnings as they approach one of the country’s 18 road tunnels.

The tunnels are all fitted with height detection indicators which alert lorry drivers if their vehicles pose a risk so they can stop or turn off the road in time. If they don’t stop or divert, an automatic barrier comes down and closes off the road.

It can take up to 20 minutes to remove a lorry from the entrance to the tunnel and re-open the road, the ministry said.

Under European rules, lorries are not supposed to be higher than four metres. Loose tarpaulins which blow in the wind and uneven loads which stick out are the most common reasons for the tunnels being closed to traffic, the ministry said.

Most problems – 8,677 road closures – happened at the Velsertunnel under the North Sea Canal near IJmuiden. The Coen tunnel on Amsterdam’s ring road was next, with 1,249 closures

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