The first 3D maps of what’s under our roads are to be created in a multi-million pound project to cut traffic jams caused by roadworks. The four-year survey will plot every pipe, cable, drain and sewer in the UK, and make the information available for contractors on hand held computers. Four million holes are dug in the roads every year, but many are unnecessary as there are no reliable plans showing utilities buried since Victorian days. The annual digging bill of £1billion rises to £5bn when the cost of congestion is included. Now, researchers from Nottingham and Leeds Universities are to use computer programs to combine data from thousands of separate plans into maps with pinpoint accuracy.
“Reducing roadworks would bring enormous economic and environmental benefits,” said Professor Tony Cohn of Leeds. The project includes a scheme to tag pipes as they’re laid so they can be found with a radio scanner.