Space age technology tackling Blackpool's potholes

Hi-tech satellite technology is being used to help tackle road repairs in Blackpool.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 12:03 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 12:04 pm
Since summer 2019, 5,145 potholes have been filled in North Shore, Blackpool

Blackpool Council is the first local authority in the country to roll out the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology aimed at making savings of £100,000s in road maintenance.

Forming a key part of the council’s Project Amber highways maintenance strategy the use of AI technology has already been successfully piloted in Anchorsholme and Bispham.

The initiative saw engineers view the road network using space satellite image capturing, allowing the highways team to inspect roads and pinpoint where work is needed.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The sophisticated technology can detect damage in seconds and help spot pot holes, cracks and general damage. A signal is sent to an operator who uses a colour coding system to decide what steps to take next.

Since summer 2019, 5,145 potholes have been filled in North Shore which would have cost £1.5m using traditional methods.

By investing in the new technologies Blackpool Council said it has managed to save more than £1m resulting in a final cost of just under £450,000.

Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Highways, said: “Project Amber and the use of artificial intelligence is another forward thinking and innovative approach that will deliver not only significant savings but will also benefit all road users.”

Steve Berry, head of local roads at the Department for Transport, said: “We hope that Project Amber will act as a showcase of what can be achieved by local authorities working in partnership with the supply chain to achieve lower whole life costs in highway maintenance through the use of surface treatments.”