Hospital road studs to warn drivers of ice

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New temperature-sensitive ‘cats’ eyes’ are being installed on roads at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital to warn ambulance crews and other drivers of treacherous ice.

The winter weather warning pilot is being trialed at the hospital’s main Barnsley Road entrance from the end of this month until next March.

The Northern General is the first hospital in Europe to use the solar-powered studs, called the PATeye Ice Detection System.

Ten studs will be installed initially at a cost of £900, monitoring humidity and temperature to see if the road temperature drops to freezing or below. Once this happens, blue LED lights in the stud start to flash, alerting drivers of the risk of ice.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals will use the system together with Met Office technology to help with decisions about how much grit to spread.

Plans are also being made for signs to be put up allowing information to be displayed about cold weather.

Roger Bown, the trust’s senior estates manager, said: “Winter is one of our busiest times of the year, and severe temperatures can impact on patient safety.

“Improving visual awareness when road temperatures drop to freezing or below will help alert ambulance crews and other drivers of treacherous ice. This will help us put preventative measures in place as quickly as possible and better assist with overall site safety.”

Last winter more than 139,000 people attended the Northern General for outpatient appointments.