Local News

Robotics keeps Hampshire’s highways verges in shape

Hampshire County Council staff with a Robocutter

Hampshire Highways teams are trialling new robotic grass cutters this Spring as the annual grass cutting programme gets underway.

Councillor Rob Humby explained “Grass cutting is an important part of our annual highways maintenance programme as good visibility is vital for all those using the road to maintain clear lines of sight.

We are always looking at how we can harness technology to improve what we do  – whether it’s a more cost effective, quicker, or more efficient way to carry out highways maintenance.  In this case, using a robotic grass cutter means that less cones and other traffic management measures are needed on the roads, so disruption to traffic should be minimised.

Matthew Riches, Skanska’s Business Director at Hampshire Highways, added “The robotic cutters use smart technology to easily navigate around obstacles and pre-set boundaries. This means they can be used in areas where traffic travels at higher speeds and where it would be more dangerous for our workers to operate, keeping them safer.”

Hampshire County Council manages around 5,500 miles of road and 2,000 miles of roadside verges. Grass and foliage is cut once a year on rural roads with swathes cut back to one or two metres depending on location, and urban verges are cut more often.

Outside of this, grass and foliage will be cut back where it may cause a safety risk because of reduced visibility. Hampshire Highways takes extra care to manage over 200 Roadside Verges of Ecological Importance in Hampshire. Verge cutting is also timed to manage designated Road Verges of Ecological Importance which have identified rare flower species.

Councillor Humby continued “As I’m sure gardeners across Hampshire are well aware, the combination of warm and wet weather we’ve had recently has resulted in rapid growth.  Hampshire Highways teams are out around the county ensuring that roadside verges are cut back to improve visibility and safety for everyone who uses the roads.”

Report issues direct online at: www.hants.gov.uk/transport/roadmaintenance/roadproblems/treehedge

Find out more about how the County Council manages Road Verges of Ecological Importance

Skanska was appointed by Hampshire County Council on 1 August 2017 to deliver highways maintenance services in Hampshire over the next seven years; there is an option to extend for a further five years past 2024 based on successful performance.