Major freeway tunnel upgrades to start this weekend

16 March, 2023

Night works will begin on the South Eastern Freeway this weekend, as major upgrades are made to the Heysen Tunnels over the next 12-18 months.

The refurbishment of the tunnels, which were opened in 2000, will upgrade and install new tunnel lighting, fire suppression technology and Intelligent Transport System, which can automatically detect incidents such as breakdowns.

The works will take place at night between 8pm and 6am starting from Sunday 19 March, but not during on busy periods such as Friday and Saturday nights.

Image: SA Department for Infrastructure and Transport

RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said some delays will be expected while the works are underway.

“Traffic management, lighting and fire safety technology have all advanced significantly since the tunnels first opened in 2000.

“This project will upgrade systems near the end of their design life and allow for improved traffic management through the tunnels in the case of an incident.

“Night works are being undertaken from this weekend – but not on Friday or Saturday nights, high fire danger days or when major events are expected – to minimise disruption during the freeway’s busiest times.

“We don’t expect there to be any delays to day time or peak hour traffic.

“On the nights when works are underway, there will be some delays due to lowered speed limits, which will be most notable during the daily setup and pack down stages of the work zone.

“Motorists should always follow the directions of traffic management personnel and devices to ensure the safety of all road workers and road users.”

The Heysen Tunnels Refit and Safety Upgrade will take until the second half of 2024 to complete, and more information can be found on the DIT website:”

Image: SA Department for Infrastructure and Transport