Gritters at the ready for council’s winter service

Transport and Streets
13:49, Wednesday, 16th October 2019

North Lincolnshire Council’s team of gritters will be carrying out the annual winter service dry run on Thursday 17 October from 7pm, to ensure they are all geared up ready for the cold winter months.

On the dry run, you will see the gritters out and about across North Lincolnshire on the main routes to test the equipment and support systems that are in place. The vehicles will not be spreading any salt on the test run, which is expected to take three hours.

From the end of October, the winter service season starts and officers will be on standby ready to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when needed right through until the end of March 2020.

The council is ready to respond to the harshest of conditions with a stock of around 4,500 tonnes of salt, ten gritters for our roads, and a mini gritter for treatment of other areas such as car parks and pedestrianised areas (precautionary routes). The stocks are replenished during the season to ensure that sufficient salt is available at all times.

As always, road users are urged to also be prepared for all weather conditions and not to get caught out.

Cllr Julie Reed, cabinet member for connectivity, said:

“The dry run allows the team to make sure they are ready for the cold weather over the next few months to keep people safe on our roads. The systems will be checked to ensure they are working correctly and prepared to deal with wintry conditions.

“From the end of this month we will be monitoring the weather forecast and road conditions, and will be on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week ready for when the temperatures drop.

“If the weather conditions do turn, as always we would advise people to only drive if it is really necessary and follow our tips for keeping safe.”

Keep an eye on the council’s ‘gritter Twitter’ to see when we’re out and about over the winter season – follow @NLCHighways for updates.

When the cold weather sets in the council will respond by:

  • Spreading salt on the roads to reduce the risk of ice forming on the surface.
  • Giving priority to certain routes (see the council’s website for these routes at www.northlincs.gov.uk/transport-and-streets/roads-highways-and-pavements/winter-service/).
  • Giving the following types of roads top priority for snow clearing work: major routes; one route opened to each community; access to hospitals and emergency services; and main bus routes.

Pedestrianised areas and other heavily-used footways will be given first priority among footways. Other roads and footways will be treated during prolonged extreme weather as soon as resources become available.

Knapsack sprayers will be used to treat difficult to reach areas such as footbridges.

Over 700 kilometres of roads are salted in North Lincolnshire – 51 per cent of the total network. This is higher than the national average.

The council has been working with town and parish councils through the network of snow wardens, to ensure their local supplies of salt are replenished and in some locations, provided extra salt bins.

During extreme bad weather, the council recruits local farmers and contractors who have tractors with snow ploughs and other vehicles to help clear the snow. The council has a register of all those who can be called on at short notice to assist.

Top tips for drivers

If the weather does turn bad (snow, ice, fog, wind or rain) and drivers are thinking about driving in these extreme conditions you should:

  • Ask yourself if your journey is really necessary – will it wait until the weather improves?
  • If you have to travel, give yourself extra time for the journey – don’t put pressure on yourself by rushing.
  • If your journey is taking longer than you thought; don’t worry. It’s better to arrive late than not at all.
  • Slow down and take extra care. It is your responsibility to drive to the prevailing road and weather conditions.
  • If you get into trouble, especially in the snow, stay with your vehicle until help arrives.
  • Make sure you and your vehicle are properly prepared: carry warm clothing and footwear; keep screen washer full and make sure windows are clean; check lights and keep them clean; ensure battery is fully charged; add anti-freeze to the radiator and check fluids; and check tyres for condition, correct pressure and tread depth.