TWO new machines have been hitting the road this summer to help keep Dorset’s roads clear of rainwater.
Dorset Highways has taken ownership of a new gully cart along with a new jetter to support the essential work of its drainage fleet, which forms part of the council’s preventative maintenance programme.
Cllr Ray Bryan, portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “We’ve recently committed to increasing our spend on drainage maintenance by £200k a year, and this is the first step in that journey.
“This significant investment into our drainage fleet will provide additional resource to carry out routine maintenance, as well as offer greater capacity and resilience to deal with blocked drains and flooding issues.
“Although we cannot totally protect our drains from getting blocked by road debris and falling leaves, through regular emptying of gullies and the ability to respond quickly to reports of flooding we can ensure traffic on our roads can continue to flow.”
With the new arrival, Dorset Highways gully fleet now has three, purpose-built machines which will operate across the Dorset Council network providing a proactive programme of emptying debris from highway drains which, if unchecked, can block road drainage systems.
The new jetter, which replaces a smaller towable unit, will provide greater capacity and efficiency and join the fleet of first responders to reports of flooding – with two towable units and two 7.5tonne jetter vehicles now covering the council area.
This mixed fleet approach ensures that, no matter the size of the road or its location, there is a drainage vehicle able to reach and clear any blocked gully.
Each gully cart can hold up to 5,400litres of water cleared from the road and 2,700litres of clean water for jetting.
The 7.5tonne jetter can carry 1,000litres of water, which is used at high-pressure to push through blockages. It has capacity to hold 2,000litres of waste water sucked up from blocked drains, which can also be reused as jetting water.
This investment was supported by the Highways Executive Advisory Panel, which passed its recommendation to Cabinet.