In 2004, a European directive on tunnel safety was issued, leading to the decision to begin construction of the road tunnel's emergency gallery at the end of 2009. This was to bring the tunnel into conformity with the obligation for all tunnels in the trans-European network to be equipped with safety shelters no more than 500 m apart.
The main objective of this operation was to increase the number of safety shelters in the Fréjus tunnel from 11 to 34 by building connections to the emergency gallery every 400 m on average. Safety shelters with a surface area of at least the regulatory standard of 50 m² are integrated into these connecting galleries.
During the Franco-Italian summit in Lyon on December 3rd, 2012, the two governments decided on the entry into service of this gallery. The second tube will be opened to single lane traffic (in the direction Italy-France), while the existing tunnel will also be operated for single lane traffic (in the direction France-Italy).
This project costing 550 M € (2014 value), of which 275 M € is to be funded by SFTRF, is part of the safety work carried out in the tunnel since 2000. The second tube will be funded for the main part, by the users through gradual toll increases over a period of several years which started in 2010. To speed up the construction of this second tube and relieve users of too heavy a cost, the State decided to contribute 50 M € to the funding of the French side of the structure, within the framework of a 2008 economic stimulus plan.
On November 17th, 2014 excavation of the tube, using a tunnel boring machine, was completed. The tube will not go into service before 2019 in view of the civil engineering work still to be carried out and the installation of all the equipment (lighting, ventilation traffic signals and signage). Seventeen connecting galleries with their safety shelters have been operational on the French side since April 2014.