NorthConnex tunnel, Australia

Intelligent tunnel lighting in Australia Energy-efficient lighting concept for the NorthConnex tunnel

Large cities mean a lot of traffic and consequently more stringent requirements regarding the safety of drivers and pedestrians. The NorthConnex tunnel in Australia relieves congestion on the busy Pennant Hills Road in northern Sydney and helps prevent accidents by providing optimum illumination.

With a particular focus on safety and energy efficiency, a smart lighting solution from Schréder and Phoenix Contact was used in the award-winning tunnel.

NorthConnex tunnel

Customer profile Road operator Transurban implements a sustainable tunnel project

  • The deepest road tunnel in Australia, going down to 90 meters below ground.
  • The nine-kilometer long twin-tube tunnel eases congestion on the busiest roads in northern Sydney.
  • Each day, approximately 37,000 vehicles pass through the tunnel, which has two tubes, each with two lanes and an emergency stop lane.

Application Control and monitoring of tunnel lighting

For maximum safety in the NorthConnex tunnel, an innovative lighting concept is required. It is designed to help road users adjust their eyes to the darker light conditions.

In terms of energy requirements, the lighting system is the biggest consumer in the tunnel and this is where significant savings can be made. This is also where the application comes in and regulates the dimming value for each light as required.

Together with lighting specialist Schréder and system integrator Betacom, Phoenix Contact, as an expert in the field of automation and connection technology, implemented an intelligent lighting solution in the NorthConnex tunnel.

Solution Ideal lighting level for the entire tunnel

Backlit silhouettes of trees and starry sky in the NorthConnex tunnel
Control cabinet for controlling the tunnel lighting
Tunnel lighting with QPD connectors and conductor connectors
Commissioning of the tunnel lighting in the NorthConnex tunnel
Backlit silhouettes of trees and starry sky in the NorthConnex tunnel

Phoenix Contact has worked with Schréder to develop a solution that produces constant light intensity over the entire lifetime of the installation. The remit included the cleaning intervals for the tunnel lights as well as the LED losses associated with aging.

These influencing factors result in several thousand parameters that flow into the controller and are made available to the system integrator in a predefined form.

Control cabinet for controlling the tunnel lighting

The exact positions of the lights and the driver boxes were defined by Schréder specialists based on a photometric analysis. The control of the Lumgate activation electronics and the LED drivers is based on up to 50 lighting scenes imported directly from the photometric analysis.

There are also 15 special scenarios that can be given high priority in special situations, e.g., in the case of an emergency or a dangerous event.

Tunnel lighting with QPD connectors and conductor connectors

Parallel to the preparatory work, 110 t of power and bus lines were delivered pre-assembled to the construction site. Each cable had been pre-cut, fitted with the necessary connectors, and marked.

Due to the consistent use of the QPD installation system with proven QUICKON fast-connection technology, all components could be installed in a time-saving manner without using tools.

Commissioning of the tunnel lighting in the NorthConnex tunnel

The connection also makes commissioning easier. The commissioning mode of the control system detects a defective or incorrectly connected device directly during installation.

Once the driver box has started communication with the controller, it starts itself up. In this context, it runs through a sequence in which the LED lights are dimmed from dark to light several times. Installers thus receive direct feedback on their work.

Summary Energy-efficient, cost-saving, and safe

Overall, the integration of the control system into the tunnel’s main network proved straightforward. Along with the team from the local subsidiary, commissioning was also supported by technical experts from Schréder and Phoenix Contact from Belgium and Germany. This was possible despite coronavirus travel restrictions thanks to remote access via an optional router.

Aside from the low installation costs due to the connection technology, the solution is characterized by high energy efficiency and therefore reduced operating costs. And let’s not forget the high level of safety in the NorthConnex tunnel thanks to situational, reliable lighting of the tunnel tubes.

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Technician in a tunnel