Routine checks on lights along the Highways England road network are time consuming and often require lane closures – to the frustration of motorists.
But if successful, a trial of a new cable network monitor which can be installed in each supply point and flag up faults straight away means the amount of inspections – and traffic management – needed is set to be dramatically reduced.
The GridKey system detects if a power supply cable has failed or it is not operating correctly. The system will alert a data centre so the issue can be assessed and either monitored or an electrical team dispatched to carry out repairs if necessary.
A trial is under way on the Highways England network in the Midlands and will run for 12 months.
Highways England Supplier Relationships Manager Lisa Maric, who leads the project, said:
This continuous monitoring will bring large operational cost savings by reducing the need for frequent testing and inspections which could lead to fewer lane closures affecting drivers’ journeys.
We will be able to identify faults more quickly and resolve the issue straight away or continuously monitor the situation.
It will also improve safety by minimising the need to have our workforce out on the road – safety is always our number one priority.
The trial, in conjunction with Kier, will see some 60 GridKey units trialled in phase 1 and a further 400 units in Phase 2 tested on both built-up and rural networks and monitoring cables of different types, length and age across the Midlands. This will build up a bank of data to give a better understanding of the electrical loads and stresses on the street lighting power network.
This data will help to monitor lighting circuits as the schemes are rolled out or updated.