The idea is that instead of relying on routine inspection to check gully blockages, the sensors will detect the build-up of silt and rising water levels inside.
The sensors feed data back to a control centre via web-based, mapped, visualisation software. This way, time is not spent inspecting clean gullies and emergency call-outs for flooding can be averted.
Amey account director Paul Anderson said: “This is exciting, new technology which should enable us to be much more proactive in terms of 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 works as well as we hope they will, then it could lead to a radically different approach in Hampshire and elsewhere.”
Hampshire County Council executive member for environment and transport, Rob Humby, said: “Heavy, intense rainfall can, as we all know, result in localised flooding, and keeping the water off the road surfaces is at the forefront of our highways work throughout the winter. These sensors should help us establish an inventory of each gully which will show us when and where we need to direct resources.”
It is not the only interesting innovation involving Hampshire gullies: R&W Civil Engineering recycles the waste gathered from gullies to produce clean water, topsoil and aggregates. [See our previous report here.]
Amey's current seven-year term on Hampshire highways comes to an end in August 2017. The council has yet to announce whether it will be renewed.