New state-of-the-art network of weather stations to help protect UK roads this winter

New state-of-the-art network of weather stations to help protect UK roads this winter
National Highways have announced that they will be investing £15.4m in new weather stations to help drivers this winter.

The new state-of-the-art network of weather stations will provide real-time data of road conditions – meaning that the agency can react to adverse weather conditions in a quicker timeframe.

As a part of the funding, more than 530 gritters will also be to call upon in with 280,000 tonnes of salt at 128 depots across the network.

Working with manufacturer Vaisala, National Highways will be upgrading 125 weather stations by 2025.

Furthermore, they have also revealed that there are plans for around 100 more stations to be built between 2025 and 2030.

The update to the existing National Highways weather stations are necessary, as some are up to 25 years old.

Following the updates and new stations being built, all of them will have the latest technology available.

The weather stations will include atmospheric sensors and road sensors cabled from the weather station to the road.

This will mean that they will be able measure snow and ice, visibility in fog, high winds, flooding, air temperature, humidity, and precipitation for the hazard of aquaplaning.

All of these can cause issues for drivers – especially during the winter months.

The first new weather station was introduced on the A56 near Accrington in late October 2023.

The new weather stations will read weather conditions on a particular road, and that information is then sent to National Highways’ Severe Weather Information Service.

After this, the data will inform control rooms across the country on what is needed from them.

Darren Clark, Severe Weather Resilience Manager at National Highways said: “Our investment in upgrading our weather stations is just the latest way we are developing our weather forecasting capability.

“We are ready for the winter season and will be out and about day or night when the roads need salting. We have the people, systems and technology in place to know where and when to grit and will be working to keep people moving safely on our roads whatever weather conditions we get.”

What do you make of the investment and the plans for protecting roads this winter and beyond? Leave your comments below.

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