2 March 2022 | Collaboration | Our Work

Range of topics covered at LCRIG Southeast Innovation Group meeting

LCRIG’s South East Innovation Group covered several topics including skills, the Internet of Things, and Geopolymer injection in highway maintenance at their recent meeting.

Carol Valentine, Chair of the group and Highways Project Manager at Kent County Council, updated members on the progress of the group and plans going forward.

The group acts as a forum for exchanging and sharing innovative ideas across the South East and encourages authorities to try new ways of delivering highway services. LCRIG helps to facilitate this group in order to ensure that all in attendance are aware of wider work and events taking place across the country.

The first item at the meeting which took place last Thursday (24 February) was a presentation by Adam Thomas, Infrastructure Engineering Manager at Geobear.

Geobear operates in the highways sector as a sub-contractor to Tier 1 and Tier 2’s or directly for local government. The company provide a solution to re-mediate the ground beneath flexible road surfaces and rigid slabs that are subject to subsidence.

The company’s geopolymer injection method compacts the soil beneath roads to make the subsurface stable, without any need for excavation works.

After listening to feedback from members it was agreed that Adam’s contact details would be shared with the group for follow-up purposes.

Amanda Richards, Group Manager, Network & Asset Management at Surrey County Council then provided an update on how the authority is using the Internet of Things to help carry out highway inspections and look for potholes.

The council has been trialing sensors to provide information on things such as gritting efficiency, road condition, etc.

She told the group: “Trials take longer than you think. You need to be adaptable and go in different directions. Innovation is not something that is a straight line. There are so many different technologies out there, so you need to go into things with a mindset of it is okay to fail as long as you learn.”

David Short, Senior Business Development Manager at Kier Highways, then gave a presentation entitled ‘S-Skills for Highways’.

He spoke about how Kier partnered with Surrey County Council on an innovative scheme that brings vulnerable people in social care into the workplace, supporting candidates to be able to carry out basic highway works in the community and helping tackle the national social care time bomb.

It was revealed that the initiative had provided 30 candidates a year the opportunity to enter meaningful work.

There was then a two-minute innovation round up from each authority:

Hampshire County Council has been undertaking a gulley sensor trial. The council is also carrying out footway surveys using Artificial Intelligence (AI) which is collected using a mobility scooter.

 

East Sussex County Council is currently seeking a new Asset Manager.

 

Medway Council is trialing the use of thermal road repairs for potholes.

 

Kent County Council is looking into the practicalities of using drones for use across its highways network.

 

Finally, LCRIG Secretariat, Susanne Ingham, updated the group on some upcoming events including the Project Amber Workshop, Transport Technology Forum (TTF) Conference and LCRIG’s proposed Innovation Festival.

 

Key topics for discussion at the next meeting will be confirmed with the event set to take place on 10 May.