The South Bore of the Huguenot Tunnel opened in March 1988 and has been in operation ever since, with more than 110 million vehicles have passed through the tunnel to date. 

“Statistics show that only 10% of the daily traffic passing through the tunnel, do so at night-time. In terms of the least disruptive time, the tunnel would thus be closed to traffic, from 10 pm to 6 am, Monday to Thursday. This means that the tunnel will still be open during the daytime Monday to Thursday and fully open 24 hours a day from Friday to Sunday, for all road users,” said Randall Cable, SANRAL Western Region Manager.

The North Bore was also excavated but was not fully commissioned at the time, lacking inter alia operational portals and approaches, the road, the ventilation and the lighting.

Reasons for refurbishment

The electrical and mechanical systems have however neared the end of their life and need replacement to ensure compliance with international safety standards.

Much of the required maintenance work has been completed under live traffic conditions, to ensure minimal inconvenience to road users. These include:

  • 11Kv line replacement between the tunnel and the Main Control Centre (MCC)
  • Installation of backup generators at MCC and portal buildings
  • Most of the water main replacement
  • Main Control Centre building upgrade
  • Replacement of variable message signs (VMS) and all electronic signage in the tunnel
  • Replacement of Main Control Centre fire detection and suppression system
  • Upgrade of Emergency radio system in the tunnel and Main Control Centre

“Some of the work, like the upgrade of the tunnel fire detection system, replacement of the tunnel strip and adaption lighting and the asphalt overlay of the Eastern Approach Road (Worcester side) cannot be done under live traffic conditions and will therefore be done at night-time during the planned closures. We anticipate that this should all be completed by 30 September 2021,” said Mike Vinello-Lippert, SANRAL Tunnel Project Manager.


Average daily passage


Real-time daily monitoring


Total vehicles passed through


Traffic between 06h00 and 22h00

Years Old

Opened in March 1988

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