Hampshire County Council’s highways teams are all set for the winter weather, this year combining tried and tested methods with new technology.
Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at the County Council, explained: “Keeping Hampshire moving so people can get to work and school as usual, whatever the weather, is our priority.
“Heavy, intense rainfall can, as we all know, result in localised flooding, and keeping the water off Hampshire’s 5,300 miles of road surfaces is at the forefront of our highways work throughout the winter.
“This year, our engineers are trialling out some new sensors in roadside gullies on some sections of the road in Hampshire.. These sensors automatically provide data on key factors which affect flooding on the roads, such as silt and water levels in the gullies, and combine this information with weather forecasts. In this way, an inventory of each gully can be established which will show us when and where we need to direct resources.”
Paul Anderson, Account Director for Amey, added: “This is exciting, new technology which should enable us to be much more proactive in preventing gullies becoming flooded, as opposed to dealing with the issue in just a reactive way. We have installed 25 sensors in known ‘high risk’ gullies and are currently collecting information at these sites. If these sensors work as well as we hope, it could lead to a radically different approach in Hampshire and elsewhere.”
As well as the new sensors, a new fleet of gully emptiers have hit Hampshire’s highways network to ensure drains and gullies are ready for the winter weather. These machines have automatic gearboxes to prolong their life, can suck silt from up to 30m deep and jet 100m long pipelines.
Paul Monck, General Manager at EEG said: “EEG is proud to present our new gulley fleet additions working in partnership with Amey and Hampshire County Council. EEG continues to invest in our fleet showcasing our environmental commitment in delivering the gully cleansing project on time and on budget.”
The work of the new gully fleet compliments the cycle of inspections, clearing and maintenance work which is carried out on Hampshire’s 60,000 gullies and 4,600 catchpits throughout the year, as well as continual structural improvements to the drainage system which make Hampshire more resilient to the effects of extreme weather.
As well as gullies in the roadsides, ditches on private land also need to be clear for water to run off the roads, particularly during periods of heavy and intense rainfall.
Councillor Humby continued: “While flooding can’t be completely prevented, there is a lot we can all do to reduce the impact on our communities. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask all residents to make sure ditches on their land are clear of leaves, vegetation and other debris to help prevent localised flooding after heavy rainfall.”
For more information on the work Hampshire County Council carries out in the fight against flooding, and how you can be prepared, visit www.hants.gov.uk/flooding.