Scot­tish bridges might get smarter

Canal Boat - - News -

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.

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