As part of Transport Scotland’s strategic trunk road management program, contractor Scotland TranServ will install an innovative new ‘icephobic’ coating in a key motorway tunnel in central Glasgow.
Scotland TranServ is trialing the new ice-free treatment in the Charing Cross Tunnel on the M8 motorway to help tackle the potential for icicles forming under extreme cold temperatures this winter. During the winter of 2017-18, and particularly during the ‘Beast from the East’ weather event, it was necessary for Transport Scotland to implement emergency closures of the trunk road in order to clear the icicles, maintaining safety for road users.
“Following extensive investigations, we’ve identified an ‘icephobic’ coating to protect the tunnel from icicle formation. This innovative coating helps to repel ice, or more accurately prevent ice formation,” said Brian Laurie, Scotland TranServ’s network bridges manager. “The technology is already being used to prevent ice build-up on aircraft and wind turbines. We will need to monitor the performance of this coating over a number of winters in order to identify its success, potentially extending its use at other locations.”
Scotland TranServ’s assistant network bridges engineer, Brian Coyle, added, “The extreme temperatures of recent winters led to a number of issues with icicles forming on the underside of the Charing Cross tunnel. On several occasions, it was necessary for our operations team to close the motorway in order to clear the forming ice from the roof and protect the health and safety of drivers. We have been involved in extensive consultation with the local authority, emergency services and key stakeholders to carefully schedule this three-week program of work to have minimal impact on commuters and businesses, avoiding peak holiday periods, busy weekends and major events. Traffic management will only be implemented once traffic flows are sufficiently low.”