Scour is erosion of riverbeds and banks, which can cause major bridge structural failure problems. Dr Myra Lydon has been working on the sensor to tackle the problem since 2021.

An initial prototype sensor has been developed in partnership with Somni Solutions Ltd and testing has now completed. Dr Lydon hopes it will be in place on a Northern Ireland bridge this summer and after further research there will be a wider roll out of the device.

The project has been funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA) and Invest NI has provided additional funding for market exploration.

Dr Lydon explained the significance of the new sensor at Queen’s University Belfast’s ‘Research with Impact’ event, which took place at the Sonic Arts Research Centre: “In 2019, it was estimated that within the UK an average of 8.2 million passenger journeys are lost annually due to the risk of bridge scour, with an associated economic cost of £60m.