February 09, 2010 -- Following the worst cold weather conditions for over 30 years in the UK, highway authorities across England and Wales are facing huge challenges in repairing newly formed potholes on our roads. The rich information held within the National Street Gazetteer (NSG), which is coordinated on behalf of local government by the Improvement and Development Agency, has greatly simplified this task by assisting the scheduling and communication of necessary repairs.
In Devon, South West England, the highway authority is mustering its resources to tackle the problem head on with the NSG providing the basis for its planned assault on potholes. Over the next six weeks a specialist team made up of 26 groups of three to five people will take to the streets to inspect Devon’s 8,000 mile long road network. The teams will set out to identify the potholes - each travelling in lightweight vehicles equipped to carry out intermediate repairs on all small potholes.
The crews are equipped with tablet PCs, GPS location and mobile network cards. The NSG provides the background information on all of the routes identifying every road, its class and its maintenance category. GPS locates the exact position of each pothole on the road which is transmitted back to the routine maintenance system twice a day. The data held in the NSG then helps to determine the priority for larger pothole repairs and permanent repairs for those tackled in the initial campaign.
In South Wales the observations are familiar. “We too have been badly affected by the severe weather and freezing temperatures, with a significant increase in the amount of potholes to be repaired,” said Jason Jenkins, Highways Network Manager for the South Wales Highways Authority. “Our maintenance package for inspections, Works orders and Noticing regime now relies on the NSG for categorising the streets and identifying the work locations on Works tickets throughout the authority, so it has become indispensable,” continued Jenkins.
Simon Bailey the NSG custodian at Intelligent Addressing said, “The NSG is now being used for the identification and coordination of road and street repairs across England and Wales. Being able to schedule repairs based on road category and then to communicate exact locations to repair crews is a huge time saver and another brilliant example of this essential national dataset at work.”
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