Technological boost for funding resilience

The Roads Minister has seen a world-first innovation which could see communities affected by floods reconnected more quickly.

The minister saw technology which will allow brigades to be reopened more quickly, improve resilience at key flooding hotspots and help to prevent communities from becoming isolated.

The BridgeCat, which has been developed by the Department for Transport, Cumbria County Council and Gaist Solutions, uses sonar and an underwater camera to provide detailed information about the bridge’s condition. It combines this with sensors to measure the damage caused by the flood.

The BridgeCat will also be used to monitor the ongoing condition of bridges across the county to keep them safe and properly maintained.

Over the coming weeks, the system will be trialled at a number of sites in Cumbria. The trials will enable teams to test the system components and to ensure efficient operation.

Jesse Norman, Roads Minister, said: “A good transport system is vital to any community and essential to a thriving economy.

“The BridgeCat is an exciting, world-leading innovation which will help bridges to open more quickly after severe weather, reconnecting communities and minimising disruption.”

Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “This is important technology for Cumbria – the BridgeCat trials are exciting, and if successful, will enable us to gather important information about the condition of our bridges, which in turn helps us to plan and prioritise works much more efficiently and effectively. I’m also delighted to be working in partnership with the Department for Transport and Gaist Solutions on this innovative new project – the technology will be a vital tool in our ongoing flood recovery and resilience works.”

Jenny Roberts, senior project manager for BridgeCat at Gaist Solutions Limited, said: “At Gaist we focus on addressing national resilience issues to benefit local communities, collaborating on highly innovative projects aimed for social good. BridgeCat embodies these values completely and I am extremely excited to be taking this incredibly important asset on its first step in the journey towards deployment in Cumbria. We have a lot of learning to do, but we also have a great team in place and I have every confidence that we will be gathering useful data from day one.”

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