Information published on 1 October 2020 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr eNews.

Norway: New underpass replaces two unsecured level crossings

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A splice layer between Ringerike municipality and Bane NOR ensures a kinder egg at Hønefoss: School children and other pedestrians get a safe walkway under the railway, passing trains stop honking and districts are connected.

The unsecured level crossing at Storløkka was closed at the start of school this autumn. Just beyond is now the new culvert as part of a new pedestrian and bicycle path. Photo: Ulf Glasrud, Bane NOR

The first weekend in October, a new pedestrian culvert (underpass) will be in place under the Roa – Hønefoss line. Ringerike municipality is the client, and the goal is to establish a safe pedestrian and bicycle path in the area Parkgata – Storjordet in Hønefoss.

There are major improvements being made on the north side of Hønefoss. In connection with the construction of a new Ullerål school, business establishments and housing development in this part of the city, the infrastructure will be renewed and improved at the same time, says project manager Erik Josephson in Ringerike municipality.

Much of the water and sewage network is outdated, and the municipality is renewing this at the same time as the other work in a splice layer with developers in the area.

Safe school road

The new underpass replaces two unsecured level crossings: Storløkka and Ankersgate. The transition at Storløkka was closed already at the start of school, while Ankersgate will be closed when the underpass is ready for use later this autumn.

The collaboration with the municipality has worked very well. They have really thought ahead and done a thorough job. I am glad that we agreed to close the transition in August so that the students at the new Ullerål school avoid using it while waiting for the culvert, says project manager Bjørn Ludvig Søgnen in Bane NOR.

The contractors Isaksen and Baneservice will carry out the work on behalf of the municipality. The biggest lift takes place on the weekend of 3 to 4 October, when the track section is closed for work for 43 hours. First, they will cut and remove the railway track and dig away the landfill. Then the contractor must lay water and drainage pipes in the bottom and the concrete culvert of 3 times 3.5 meters on top. Finally, the embankment and track will be put back in place so that train traffic can begin to run.

Stop honking

The Roa – Hønefoss line is used daily by freight trains on the Bergen line. In addition, the line functions as a reserve route for passenger trains on the Bergen line and for traffic on the Sørlandsbanen in deviation situations and when work is taking place on the track around Drammen, as has been the case several summers in a row.

Freight trains are heavy and have a long braking distance. Fortunately, there have been no accidents here, but it will be an important step for safety to close the two transitions. In addition, the neighbors will notice that the trains stop honking before the crossings to announce that they are coming, says Søgnen.

The statistics show that most accidents on the railway occur at level crossings. Bane NOR is therefore continuously working to reduce the number of crossings where cars and pedestrians have to cross the track. In recent years, an average of 25 unsecured level crossings have been closed each year. Last year, Bane NOR spent NOK 120 million on such measures. Bane NOR contributes NOK 3 million to the project at Hønefoss.

(Source: Bane NOR)