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World-first vehicle to inspect flood damaged bridges unveiled in Cumbria

The BridgeCat Photo: ITV Border

A world-first vehicle built to inspect flood damaged bridges has been unveiled in Cumbria today, which could see communities affected by heavy rainfall reconnected more quickly.

The BridgeCat uses sonar and an underwater camera to provide detailed information about bridges which could have sustained damage.

It has been developed by the Department for Transport, Cumbria County Council and Gaist Solutions.

Such technology will allow bridges to be re-opened more quickly, improve flooding resilience and help to prevent isolation between rural areas.

It's an invention which would be particularly useful in the Border region - during the winter storms two years ago nearly 800 bridges in Cumbria alone were affected.

Credit: ITV Border

Roads Minister Jesse Norman attended the unveiling at Salterwath Bridge near Kendal:

A good transport system is vital to any community and essential to a thriving economy.

The BridgeCat is an exciting, world-leading innovation which will help bridges to open more quickly after severe weather, reconnecting communities and minimising disruption.”

– Jesse Norman, Roads Minister

The Leader of Cumbria County Council commented:

This is important technology for Cumbria – the BridgeCat trials are exciting, and if successful, will enable us to gather important information about the condition of our bridges, which in turn helps us to plan and prioritise works much more efficiently and effectively.

I’m also delighted to be working in partnership with the Department for Transport and Gaist Solutions on this innovative new project – the technology will be a vital tool in our ongoing flood recovery and resilience works.”

– Councillor Stewart Young, Leader, Cumbria County Council