State of the art thermal sensors installed across West Berkshire highway network

West Berkshire Council and highway maintenance partner, VolkerHighways, continue to be at the cutting edge of technological advancements in the highway industry.

The organisations are leading on a Berkshire wide initiative to invest £225k in state-of-the-art thermal sensors that are fixed to street lighting columns along winter maintenance routes and on winter gritting vehicles. The data from the new sensors will be integrated into the Council’s winter forecast process allowing more informed decisions to be made on when roads should be treated. 

This project is a continuation of the Smart City Cluster project, which is a £2.1m Internet of Things (IoT) project funded through a Local Growth Fund capital grant from Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership. The Thames Valley Berkshire Smart City Cluster is a collaboration between the six Berkshire authorities: West Berkshire, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell, Slough and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead.   

The real-time data gained during the winter season will enable West Berkshire Council and VolkerHighways to optimise winter gritting routes in the future. The sensors have already been installed and data collection has begun showing road surface temperatures on all treated roads in West Berkshire.

The target is to reduce the number of treatments across Berkshire by 40% by 2027, minimising the use of salt and resulting in a CO2e reduction of approx. 26 tonnes per year.

Cllr Denise Gaines, Executive Member for Highways, Housing and Sustainable Travel at West Berkshire Council, commented: 

“This is a very exciting opportunity to take advantage of this emerging technology making our services more efficient and we are proud to be leading on this initiative across Berkshire.

“Long term this will have significant environmental and financial benefits whilst continuing the Council’s excellent winter maintenance service.”

Kunle Kolaru, Operations Director at VolkerHighways, said:

“We are excited to be working with West Berkshire Council on the rollout of smart sensors for our winter operations. Having received training on the installation of the sensors on street lighting columns and gritters, VolkerHighways will be leading on this Berkshire-wide rollout.”

Check out more about VolkerHighways here

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