The scheme will see lasers, CCTV, enhanced controls and monitoring equipment installed at each of the bridges over the next two and a half years, along with automated road barriers and traffic controls. Boaters will be able to use a smartphone app or contact a new Bridge Control Centre to open the bridges, which will still have restricted use during periods of heavy traffic, including rush hours.
Previously, each bridge had to be manually operated by a member of our staff. The new system will mean that boaters will not have to get off their boats to operate the bridges, and road users will benefit from shorter waits at some crossings, and increased road safety measures across the board.
Nick Worthington, waterway manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “We're still very much in the planning stages, but it's great to be bringing this innovative, exciting technology to Gloucestershire's historic canal. This technology is already used by Network Rail at a number of its road crossings and our bridge keeper has been trialling the system at Sandfield Bridge over the past year. We'll be looking to get everyone's opinions on how best to set things up before the system goes live.
“We'll be meeting with representatives of key stakeholders, like the emergency services, local residents and canal users throughout March, April and May, and then holding drop-in sessions as well as an online survey so that everyone has a say in the running of the bridges in their local area. We'd ask that people keep an eye on our website and look out for events nearby over the coming months.”