Wigan Council improves highways drainage with Yotta DCL bespoke gulley surveys

Published:  08 October, 2013

Wigan Council has awarded Yotta DCL a contract to undertake gulley silt level surveys following a recent asset inventory survey performed by the company. The highways technology and surveying company has completed the first of an anticipated three surveys across 1040km of Wigan council's highway network, collecting detailed gulley data for 58,000 gullies in just 10 weeks.

Wigan Council will use the data to provide silt depth trends over a three-year period subject to funding, which will help determine how frequently road gullies need emptying enabling the Council to plan more effective, targeted gulley cleaning to reduce the risk of possible flooding and inconvenience to motorists.

Wigan Council currently cleans classified road gullies annually, with those draining unclassified and residential roads cleaned every three years. The surveys will help with monitoring whether this level of treatment is sufficient for the different road types or if additional cleaning is necessary to keep the gullies flowing effectively.

As part of the survey Yotta DCL has also collected gulley condition data for the Council, so that the asset management team has detailed information on the current condition of frames, tops and pots. This will assist us in prioritising long term planned programmes of maintenance to repair cracked gulley pots for example.

We lacked data for our highway drainage network and we wanted to know what silt level build up there has been over a three-year period. With the continued shift in climate change it is important that all our gullies are working properly and providing the necessary drainage to help prevent areas of flooding and inconvenience to motorists. The survey will also help us target repairs too as we'll know the condition of each individual gulley, says Mike Purcell, Technical Manager Highways at Wigan Borough Council.

The silt level trend data provided by Yotta DCL will help guide our engineering decisions and there is the added bonus of using the data with our GIS [geographic information system], which will when fully developed help our call centre representatives deal with enquiries from the public more efficiently if they call to report a blocked gulley or flooding incident. They will be able to simply click on the gulley to see whether there have been any earlier reports, for example, and then notify our department electronically.

We are also looking to equipping our gulley cleaning operations with a tablet PC containing the GIS gully condition layer so that they can locate the gullies on screen and record when they've completed their operations so that we can get the information back in real time. The tablet PCs will be mounted in the gulley cleaning vehicles and will replace manual paperwork.

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