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Gulley management improves highway safety

W.D.M. Limited has been working closely with Cornwall Council to make driving in the County safer by capturing data about the location and condition of roadside drains.

The presence of water in a highway layer reduces the bearing capacity of the road and in doing do also reduces the structure’s lifetime.

When water is present there is a risk of frost damage, resulting in costly potholes – so drainage systems performing properly are important in road design.

Motorists driving along a road see little of such systems, but they are an expensive and vital element of the structure where the surface drainage system looks after the run-off water from rainfall.

This is where the waterproof surface with a crossfall leads the rainwater to drains. Sub-surface drainage systems safely remove groundwater and water getting through the pavement surface.

Cornwall Council has a network of some 7360.6 km of roads and drains, which require a fleet of vehicles to maintain and support.

In order to keep traffic moving and avoid flooding hazards for motorists, road drainage systems have to be consistently monitored and maintained.

Previously, this was carried out on a reactive basis, but this has proved to be neither cost effective nor efficient.

To manage the task more efficiently, the Council needed to capture data about locations and conditions of drains in order to plan cost effectively for maintenance and repairs.

Using geographic information system technology (GIS), WDM® worked with Cornwall Council to make this information available.

Gulley cleaners enter the condition of each drain on a touch screen computer and the information and exact location is recorded in real time in WDM® RMS* (Routine Maintenance System) software.

The work teams can also indicate run off areas and add notes alongside drains and gulleys where urgent attention is needed.

This builds up an accurate picture of the Council’s road and highway infrastructure inventory and ensures maintenance is carried out without unnecessary costs.

The GIS enables the Council to calculate efficient routes, depending on the condition and location of the drains. This enables efficient maintenance and improves road and highway safety whilst also reducing vehicle mileage.

* The WDM® Routine Maintenance System (RMS) module has been designed to provide a complete solution for managing both Cyclic and Non-cyclic maintenance operations using the latest map based techniques.

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