An intelligent flood warning system designed and installed by Swarco Traffic is helping Warrington Borough Council to keep vehicles well away from a potential bottleneck that has been known to flood frequently in the past.
As one of a series of measures looked at to ease congestion and reduce flooding in a dip in the road by a railway bridge in Hawleys Lane, the Borough Council wanted to find a way of warning drivers in advance of approaching trouble while still able to avoid the Lane and find an alternative route.
Swarco used its proven expertise in traffic management technology to design a bespoke system that had previously been used to warn of high winds on viaducts and traffic queues, and adapted the concept to a new ‘flood warning’ environment.
At the heart of the solution is a sophisticated central control system complemented by four UTMC-compliant low energy/high visibility LED signs. A pressure sensor installed in a manhole cover by the bridge detects when the water has risen above a certain level. This sensor interfaces with a UTMC-compliant cabinet, and the software within the control system triggers the flood warning signs to be activated.
Colin Ludden, Asset Design Engineer at Warrington Borough Council says that the signs are installed in places that give drivers sufficient warning to be able to turn around or avoid the area altogether: “Flooding in Hawleys Lane is potentially dangerous to vehicle drivers and pedestrians,” he explains, “but now we are able to warn individuals before they run into trouble.”
The Swarco solution has yet to be tested in anger. Derek Williamson, Head of Sales for Swarco Traffic, is pleased with the end result: “Swarco has a range of hazard warning solutions to protect drivers in areas that are subject to ice or high winds,” he says, “and it is logical that this same thinking has now been extended into flood environments.”