Findlay Irvine
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Press Release: Highways

Early Warning Solutions for Highway Flooding Blackspots

Sun, May, 11th, 2014

As the clear up continues after the devastating floods of earlier this year, councils and local authorities are planning flood prevention schemes and looking for innovative solutions to not only protect dwellings but also road users from future flooding events.  The UK government and weather forecasters have long been highlighting the threat from flooding and rising water levels to the UK road industry over the coming years and now is the time to act.  

Findlay Irvine, creators of Icelert weather monitoring systems and GripTester continuous surface friction measuring devices, have now developed a new FloodAlert warning system.  FloodAlert is a standalone system that can be installed in areas that are known to be prone to flooding in order to monitor and warn duty managers as well as road users, council members and local residents of the rising water levels.  

This innovative, cost effective system can be installed at the side of the carriageway and, as flood water rises, it can perform different actions at predetermined levels, warning road operators of the risk of rising water levels to road users before the situation becomes critical.  For example, as the water rises to 50mm, FloodAlert will broadcast warnings via SMS text message and e-mail to appropriate personnel giving advanced notice to monitor the situation and take action.  This makes duty managers and other key personnel aware of an impending issue and allows for the appropriate monitoring and responses to be implemented before road users become affected.  At the next pre-set level, flashing or VMS signs can be activated to warn road users of the flood ahead, with road closure signs being activated at the final level negating the need to send personnel to the site to put up warning or road closed signs.

In more severe areas, FloodAlert can be extended in order to activate pre-assigned diversion signs.  This stops road users and local residents attempting to pass a flooded road and becoming stranded, while minimising journey delays.  In more rural areas, local residents can receive text messages to their mobile phones automatically from FloodAlert as the water level rises to ensure that they are warned that the road is closed avoiding needless journeys and affording prior notice to plan an alternative route.

The system operates through an online bureau system and includes a weather camera installed at site so that the road can be monitored visually remotely by road operators.  It also offers a full audit trail solution with data on closures, flood warning sign activation times and sent messages stored for future reference, should this be needed in the event of litigation.

Findlay Irvine’s Sales Director, Rob Sims, said “After the recent devastation and the adverse effect for road users, FloodAlert is designed to allow road operators to monitor known flooding areas on their network remotely without having to deploy key personnel at a time when the resources could be better used elsewhere, such as to protect local residences.  The system is designed to protect road users and road operators, offering a cost-effective solution for problem roads that regularly flood, minimising disruption to users.

FloodAlert is easy to use and maintain, and can be customised on a site by site basis so as to offer a solution for every individual site.  The FloodAlert online bureau gives decision makers all the information about multiple sites in one place, making it quick and easy to assess the situation and disseminate information and actions to key personnel.”

With the ever increasing threat of flooding and decreasing budgets, new systems such as FloodAlert offer another valuable tool in every engineer’s tool box affording local authorities the opportunity to better allocate resources during critical flood events and keep networks moving.