During the exercise, the emergency services dealt with a simulated collision involving multiple vehicles. While the tunnel operators were responding to the initial collision, a second collision was simulated further back with one vehicle catching fire and filling the tunnel with smoke.
Ollie Brown from the Highways England emergency planning team said:
We tested our procedures for dealing with a major incident inside the A3 Hindhead tunnels during last week’s exercise. The professionalism of all who took part in this successful exercise gives us confidence that we are ready to deal with a major incident inside the tunnels. We will review the exercise to see how anything could have been done better to further improve our contingency plans. We would like to thank drivers for their patience during the closure last week and reassure them that we are ready in the event of a major incident.
The joint exercise was attended by tunnel operators and the emergency services from Surrey and Hampshire that could potentially be called to a real incident inside the tunnel.
The aim of the exercise was to test the response of the emergency services dealing with a road traffic collision and fire inside the tunnel. It is a legal requirement that a full scale exercise is carried out every 4 years.
The tunnel was closed in both directions overnight with a clearly signed diversion in place via the A31 and A325.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.