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Proactive winter maintenance

26 March 2015

By Shivani Prashar

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Yotta’s visualised asset management technology and expertise is being employed to help minimise disruption on the roads during severe winter weather.

Yotta’s highways experts are helping Local Authorities make more use of Horizons visualised asset management software to assess potential maintenance works as the winter sets in. This proactive approach can offer highways departments the opportunity to protect their networks by targeting vulnerable assets that are at risk from rain, snow and ice. With growing pressure on maintenance budgets, especially with the damage already caused by two severe winters in a row, Horizons can help highways departments ensure they are ahead of the game before wet and icy conditions wreak havoc on UK roads again.

Winter road damage is a great concern to Councils, particularly as they remain subject to austerity measures. For example, the Local Government Association (LGA) estimated £1 billion damage due to freezing conditions during the winter of 2013. The effect of two severe consecutive winters resulted in the Department for Transport allocating extra funding to Local Authorities in England and Wales.

“Even with additional money from central government, Local Authorities are faced with targeting funds where they will provide most benefit for improving road serviceability and safety. Generally, we tend to think immediately of the problem of surface damage and potholes following water ingress and subsequent freezing. However, is too heavy an emphasis on reactive maintenance the best way for Local Authorities to spend money on roads? With the Horizons platform in place, we can show them a smarter approach to dealing with road maintenance issues before they become a problem,” says Simon Topp, Yotta.

In addition to providing a tool for proactively managing winter maintenance schemes, Horizons enables highways teams to analyse the overall impact of winter weather on their networks, target future schemes and choose the most appropriate and cost-effective treatment possible.

Horizons is also useful for proactively reviewing road surface treatments to help build resilience ahead of the winter. For example, the software can map winter gritting routes and salt bin locations and use the information with pavement data. The information is readily available to all departments that have interest in the network, including call centres dealing with enquiries from the public.

“Gritting treatment can run to several million pounds a year for a Council; they therefore need to know that they are gritting where it will be most beneficial. Horizons can help with this because it is able to bring together all the data into a centralised view so that all concerned with maintaining an efficient and safe network can see the information they need,” says Simon Topp.

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