Council's Highways Team is ready to face worst winter weather

11 January 2016

A yellow warning for snow has been issued by the Met Office and Cheshire West and Chester Council’s fleet of 14 gritting trucks is on readiness, prepared to deal with the worst winter weather. 

The Council's fleet of gritting trucks keeps 620 miles of roads safe for drivers. This is the equivalent of going from Chester to Switzerland each night and is divided between depots in Guilden Sutton and Winsford.

Despite a relatively mild winter last year, some of the previous winters were the worst for many years, with sustained periods of sub-zero temperatures; the Council's Highways Service and its maintenance contractor, Ringway, work round the clock to cope with the extreme weather events with more than 12,000 tonnes of salt put onto the highway network during “severe” winters which is double what would normally be used in a “typical” winter.

To increase resilience around 6,000 tonnes of rocksalt is stored at the Guilden Sutton Depot to treat the routes in the West of the Borough.  In addition to this, around 1,500 tonnes of rocksalt at the Council’s Davenham depot to service routes in the east of the Borough.

On nights where frost or icy conditions are forecast, the fleet will spread salt to prevent ice from forming across 40 percent of the Council's highway network.

All gritters are equipped with GPS tracking to enable accurate monitoring of which roads have been treated.

Duty officers will mobilise the gritting fleets when it is predicted that the road surface temperatures are to drop below freezing, allowing time for the salt to be applied to the road.  Salting is normally completed within four hours and usually before 7am. The Highways teams maintain a close relationship with the Met Office, which monitors roadside weather stations and produces localised forecasts.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore said: “At times of continuous snow, measures are in place for Street Cleansing and Grounds Maintenance operatives to aid in the removal of snow from some footways and to spread salt. Snow bags, disposable bags filled with salt, are also ready to be delivered to the more remote areas in need of help at times of heavy snow.

“It's particularly important to you give yourself extra time to prepare for your journey on a cold morning and don't drive off until you and your car are ready.  Please drive safely in poor weather conditions, and in case of a vehicle breakdown always carry a fully charged mobile phone and check the weather forecast before setting out.

“Gritting updates are available via the Council’s Twitter feed.  Search for the hashtag - #cwacgrit.” Other advice includes:
  • Even if it hasn't rained overnight, a heavy frost can still make roads slippery;
  • Watch out for icy conditions under bridges, overhanging trees and exposed roads; and
  • Allow extra time in the morning to de-ice your car windows - and then clean all of them so you have a good view.  Check that windscreen wipers and lights are working and tyre depths should also be checked.
  • Clearing snow and ice from the pavement outside your home or public spaces can help prevent slips and falls.  
Further information on gritting routes and advice for driving in winter conditions, can be found on the Council’s website. More tips for being winter ready can be found on the Met Office website: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/barometer/get-ready-for-winter

Highways and Ringway staff with the fleet of gritting trucks

Highways and Ringway staff with the fleet of gritting trucks
 

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