Laser quest to end Durham’s traffic jam misery

Traffic jams are a misery for motorists.
Traffic jams are a misery for motorists.
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MOTORING misery will be cut in the new year as new 3D laser scanning technology will get traffic moving quicker after crashes.

Durham Constabulary has today been awarded a slice of £2.7million to buy the gadgets.

Along with 25 other forces, it will be able to use the new reserve of 37 scanners, which save time by quickly making a 3D image of a whole crash site, rather than investigators painstakingly surveying multiple sections of a scene.

This digital image can then be viewed on a computer screen remotely, allowing police to take measurements of where accident vehicles end up in relation to each other, and to examine other important evidence.

The technology, to be used on motorways and A roads, is said to help clear up accident scenes by an average of 39 minutes, and is part of a Government-led initiative known as Clear.

That aims to reduce delays caused by incidents in order to keep traffic moving, which Ministers say is a vital element in securing the UK’s prosperity.

Durham and Cleveland forces won £157,744 from the cash pot to support Clear.

Northumbria did not apply for funds as it already uses scanners.

Roads Minister Mike Penning said: “There is nothing more frustrating than being stuck in a traffic jam for hours on end.

“But even worse than that is the shocking £1billion cost of those lost hours for our economy.

“That is why we are determined to improve clear-up times following accidents so we can get our motorways re-opened as quickly as possible.

“I would like to thank police forces for seizing this opportunity to buy laser scanners and contributing funds towards the purchase.

“This clearly demonstrates how forces are committed to helping to keep traffic moving, in support of economic growth, as well as continuing to deliver their vital role in ensuring the safety and security of all road users.

“I would also like to thank the National Policing Improvement Agency for providing a contribution to the funding.”

During 2010, there were more than 18,000 full or partial motorway closures, lasting more than 20,000 hours.

Twitter: @echoeastdurham