Huguenot Tunnel

Smart tunnel lighting solution improves driving experience and generates energy, maintenance and cost savings

Huguenot Tunnel provides a route through the Du Toitskloof Mountains which separates Paarl and Worcester in the Western Cape, South Africa. This 3.9km long road tunnel is the longest in South Africa and is 11km shorter than the route over the mountain, reducing travel time and providing a safer journey. According to the Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT), more than 12,000 vehicles travel through the tunnel daily.  

The original lighting with fluorescent tubes, which was still in place from when the tunnel opened in March 1988, had become outdated and the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) decided to replace it. The requirement was for a complete design, supply and installation solution, including a lighting management system that would reduce operating costs while delivering a much better service for commuters.

They commissioned Schréder, in partnership with Phoenix Contact, to deliver the lighting solution. More than 6,200 energy-efficient LED luminaires managed by the ATS control system were installed to light this bi-directional tunnel.

Customised tunnel luminaire improves visibility with less energy 

Given the particular configuration of the tunnel, we developed a customised LED luminaire for the main tunnel lighting to deliver the required continuous line of light throughout the tunnel and ensure excellent visibility throughout the tunnel. 

With our advanced luminance calculation software, we analysed all aspects of the tunnel environment to provide the right luminance level in all zones. During the study, the number of luminaires and their orientation were calculated to create a curve as close as possible to the CIE normative curve for an efficient and economical light installation.

More than 6,000 of these state-of-the-art tunnel luminaires, composed of aluminium to resist the harsh tunnel environment, were installed. They were fitted with various optics to ensure the perfect light distribution in all tunnel zones. Indeed, they deliver overall uniformities across the road surface of more than 85%, and longitudinal uniformities of more than 95%.

Equipped with the latest generation white LEDs, they deliver a crisp bright light with exceptional colour rendering to optimise the visual perception of drivers, highlighting any potential obstacles and increasing security in the tunnel.

Enhanced safety at critical tunnel entrances

Just over 200 OMNISTAR luminaires were delivered to provide the high luminance requirements for the critical entrance zone. They have improved visibility, eliminating the black-hole effect that can occur when approaching a tunnel due to the contrast with the sun, to guarantee safety for drivers entering the tunnel.

Uncompromising quality over time

As tunnel luminaires are often subject to vibrations, car fumes, flying debris and  even water leaks, all of the luminaires have been rigorously controlled in accredited laboratories to guarantee design excellence. They will resist the harsh tunnel environment and guarantee a high-quality light output over time. 

ATS for smart tunnel lighting 

All of the luminaires are controlled by the Advanced Tunnel Solution (ATS), a control system co-developed with Phoenix Contact, to easily manage all tunnel lighting parameters remotely. 

This innovative tool constantly adapts the light levels according to specific tunnel conditions like weather, day mode, night mode, maintenance and emergency sensor inputs. The system also controls the light levels using a constant light output (CLO) function, which takes into consideration lumen and dirt depreciation to ensure safe and comfortable driving conditions.

This intelligent system permanently monitors the power consumption and reports any BUS communication or power failures to optimise operational efficiencies.

An installation in “lighting” time

Given the daily traffic density, it was important for SANRAL to minimise tunnel closures and relieve traffic congestion over the mountain, so we had to ensure the timely delivery of the project. 

Thanks to the easy “plug and play” installation of the luminaires, power and controls cables equipped with ‘Quick-on’ connectors all went smoothly and efficiently.

The ATS system integrated the tunnel lighting study and the industrial BUS system enabled individual auto-addressing, leading to a short commissioning process, saving valuable time and resources during installation. 

The entire lighting installation was up and running in an impressive 48 days. 

Safe, comfortable and sustainable tunnel

Our close collaboration with Phoenix Contact has resulted in smart tunnel lighting that 

  • improves the driving experience for motorists;
  • increases operational performance;
  • reduces energy and maintenance costs;
  • lowers CO2 emissions. 

We are delighted to have contributed to ensuring a safe, comfortable, sustainable and modern Huguenot Tunnel for another 30 years to come.

N1 - Paarl
Western Cape
South Africa


South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL)


Phoenix Contact
LEAD Engineering Projects