Rotterdam A4 tunnel shut for hours over traffic team staff shortage
The Kethel tunnel on the A4 highway was closed for almost the entire morning rush hour on Monday, causing significant delays around Rotterdam. There were not enough staff to open the tunnel safely after two employees called in sick, public works department Rijkswaterstaat said.
The tunnel towards The Hague reopened at 8:30 a.m., and the tunnel towards Rotterdam opened a short time later. Despite this, travelers' organization ANWB warned that traffic will be heavy around Rotterdam for a while yet.
According to Rijkswaterstaat, two employees, including the tunnel operator, called in sick on Monday morning. The public works department couldn't arrange replacements in time for the tunnel to remain open. Employees on the next shift came in earlier, sot hat the tunnel could open again. The Kethel tunnel is operated day and night from the Rijkswaterstaat control center in Rhoon and monitored by a tunnel operator, according to NU.nl. Without the personnel, Rijkswaterstaat could not guarantee safety in the tunnel.
The closure caused traffic jams around Rotterdam and elsewhere in Zuid-Holland, especially on the A4 and A16 highways. Traffic had to temporarily detour on the A13 and A20.
Rijkswaterstaat assumes that the staff shortage due to illness is a once-off incident and does not expect any further tunnel closures this season, a spokesperson said to NU.nl. The spokesperson denied that the traffic control enter is struggling with a general staff shortage.