When I present a dangerous goods note to a freight forwarder/haulier they sometimes ask for a tunnel category code. Can you explain what this means and where I get the information from?

Tunnel category codes relate to road journeys and revolve around the restrictions placed on the carriage of vehicles carrying dangerous goods through tunnels.  Information on these can be found in ADR Volume I, Chapter 1.9 which covers the general provisions and Table A (Dangerous Goods List), Column 15 which indicates the code against UN numbers.  ADR Volume II, Chapter 8.6 gives information on tunnel signs and restrictions on the whole load. 

Restrictions placed on a tunnel depend on its characteristics, risk assessment including availability and suitability of alternative routes and modes and traffic management considerations.  The same tunnel may be assigned to more than one tunnel category depending on the hours of the day, or day of the week. 

The Competent Authorities have categorized tunnels based on the assumption that there are 3 major dangers which could cause serious danger to people and/or the tunnel structure.  These are explosions, release of toxic gas or volatile toxic liquid and fire. 

There are 5 tunnel categories -  

A:   No restrictions for the transport of dangerous goods;

B:   Restriction for dangerous goods which may lead to a very large explosion;

C:  Restriction for dangerous goods which may lead to a very large explosion, a large explosion or a large toxic release;

D:  Restriction for dangerous goods which may lead to a very large explosion, to a large explosion, to a large toxic release or a large fire;

E:   Restriction for all dangerous goods other than UN Nos. 2919, 3291, 3331, 3359 and 3373. 

No code in Column 15 of the Dangerous Goods List, no restriction.  If any of the other 4 codes are shown then it advises a transport company that those materials cannot be transported through any tunnel showing that code. 


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