Scottish bridges might get smarter
FOLLOWING THE SUCCESSFUL development of a smartphone app enabling boaters to control lift-bridges on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, Scottish Canals is considering using the same technology on its lowland and highland waterways.
With both of Scotland’s great coast-to-coast routes, the Caledonian and the Forth & Clyde, having been built for masted seagoing craft, they retain a large number of swing-bridges and lift-bridges which are currently keeper-operated. On the Caledonian they are permanently staffed, but on the lowland canals boaters must book ahead for a keeper to operate the bridge, meaning they don’t have the ‘go anywhere’ freedom of most of the English network.
However, SC’s infrastructure director Richard Millar is looking at the possibility of changing that, by introducing the smartphone technology enabling boaters to trigger road traffic lights and barriers before opening the bridge, without having to drop off crew. There is as yet no funding for the scheme, but following reported savings of £500,000 at five bridges on the Gloucester & Sharpness, SC is looking to identify suitable bridges for a trial.