The Norwegian Public Roads Administration is using smart plowshares on four mountain crossings

New technology – GPS logging of plow sticks – will reduce queue time and increase uptime on Hardangervidda, Hemsedalsfjellet, Filefjell and Vikafjellet.

This is how the technology works:

When we set out plowing stakes in the autumn, we log the exact position of each individual stake from both sides of the road. Through a dedicated app on a tablet, the plow driver has control over where the plow sticks are, even in poor visibility, so that he can always position himself correctly.

A quarter of the maximum 25 vehicles in the column is given a column guard, a token the size of a small mobile phone. The chips have an LED that lights up green when the distance to the car in front is correct, and red if the distance is too great. The plow truck drivers at the front and back of the column also receive information about the distance between the vehicles.

This makes the convoys safer and more efficient, and means that we can run more convoys in a shorter time than today. This gives higher uptime on the mountain crossings, something we are continuously working to improve through the project Predictably passable mountain crossings.

The Swedish Road Administration: “We are proud.”
Svenn Finden is department director in the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.

“We are proud to be able to implement and test new technology in a maintenance contract that, with four high mountain passes, is among the toughest in the country. This sets high demands on us as road owners, looking forward to a good collaboration with the contractor, Precise Road Maintenance, and the snowplow manufacturer, Roadtech, to carry out our societal mission of ensuring a safe and predictable road network with high availability,” he says.

Precise Road Maintenance: “We are excited” Eivind Iden is the CEO of Precise Road Maintenance AS.

“We are highly motivated and looking forward to the challenging and exciting contract area. We will execute the assignment with optimal safety and the highest possible uptime. Additionally, we will significantly reduce the CO2 footprint in winter maintenance by using new equipment with much lower fuel consumption than existing solutions.”

“We might be the actor with the most experience in mountain passes east/west, as well as in Northern Norway,” he adds.

This is the contract The contract amount is 670 million plus VAT. The contract includes 471 kilometers of national roads, plus 78 kilometers of pedestrian and bicycle paths in a large and varied contract area:

¤ National Road 7 Haugastøl – Bu (including Hardangervidda)

¤ National Road 52 Storeskar – Borlaug (Hemsedalsfjellet)

¤ National Road 13 Skare (Kløvet) – Vangsnes (Vikafjellet)

¤ E16 Voss – Tyin (Filefjell)

¤ National Road 5 Håbakken – Fodnes

Among the 45 tunnels in the contract area is the 24,509-meter-long Lærdal Tunnel, the world’s longest road tunnel. In total, there are 103,232 meters (103 km) of tunnels in the contract area. This also includes the Gudvanga Tunnel, which, at 11,428 meters, is the country’s second-longest overseas road tunnel.

More construction managers hired than usual

The contract covers municipalities in the three counties: Vestland (Voss, Vik, Aurland, Lærdal, Eidfjord, Ullensvang, and Ulvik), Viken (Hemsedal and Hol), and Innlandet (Vang).

“Norwegian Public Roads Administration has employed more construction managers than usual. In addition to the regular construction manager, we have also chosen to include a technical construction manager for tunnels and a technical construction manager for high mountains, expertise that is particularly important in a demanding road contract like this,” says Finden.

In addition to extensive high mountain areas and many long tunnels, the contract also encompasses certain points that could be prone to avalanches, including National Road 13 over Vikafjellet.

This is a green road contract

¤ The Public Roads Administration aims to halve emissions from our projects by 2030. In the contract, we require partially emission-free or zero-emission vehicles. All new road contracts from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration require environmental certification.

¤ Tunnel cleaning water must be collected and sampled. We set strict requirements for samples from septic tank emptying and street cleaning to ensure correct mass disposal.

¤ Salt should not be used in winter maintenance on Vikafjellet and Hardangervidda due to vulnerable nature. On Filefjell and Hemsedalsfjellet, the contractor can use salt under certain conditions to achieve approved road conditions.

¤ To preserve biodiversity, we have chosen to reduce edge trimming for parts of the higher-lying areas, and we adjust tunnel cleaning to the time of the smolt (young salmon) migration.

Four contracts merge into one The contract is valid for five years, from September 1, 2022, to August 31, 2027, with the possibility of an extension of up to three years.

The regional reform introduced on January 1, 2020, means that the county municipalities are responsible for maintaining county roads. Therefore, the new contract exclusively applies to national roads, merging four old contracts wholly or partly into one.

The average daily traffic in the contract area varies from 400 to 9,600. This is referred to as Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT). The highest number is on Voss, between Palmafossen and Brynagjelet.