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Derbyshire's Gritters Gearing Up For Winter

5th October 2018
News

Derbyshire County Council is gearing up for winter as the official gritting season starts.

The council’s 37 gritters are now on standby around the clock in readiness to grit between 1 October and 30 April 2019.

The council has also taken delivery of 27,000 tonnes of grit which is now stockpiled at the county’s six highways depots.

Parish and town councils provide 1,250 grit bins for local residents to spread salt on pavements and roads in their local communities. The council is also responsible for 803.

Motorists are also advised to ensure they are prepared for winter driving as the colder weather is now around the corner.

Councillor Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure, said: “When it’s still fairly warm it’s difficult to think about preparing for winter. But the weather can change quickly and we have to plan well in advance to make sure we’re not caught off guard.”

The council grits around half of its 3,500 miles of roads and pavements that it looks after.

Major A roads, heavily-used B roads, key bus routes, roads linking towns and larger villagers and roads outside bus, train, police, fire and ambulance stations are gritted during the day and night when necessary and are pre-gritted before bad weather hits. These roads are what are termed the ‘primary’ gritting route.

Other roads that are gritted include bus routes in residential areas and well-used main roads through housing estates and villages and roads to smaller villages.

These roads are on what is known as the ‘secondary’ gritting routes and are generally only treated in the day because they tend to be residential roads carrying much less traffic. When possible, secondary routes are treated before adverse weather hits, but they are less of a priority than roads on primary routes.

Some other roads, generally in rural areas, may also be cleared of snow by local farmers and other contractors. 

Volunteers recruited through town and parish councils also clear snow and ice from pavements in their communities as part of the council’s Snow Warden Scheme.

When the weather is really bad – like last winter when the ‘Beast from the East’ caused snow and ice to cling to the roads for several weeks – the gritters concentrate on keeping just some of the major routes open. These are known as ‘principal’ routes.

Councillor Spencer added: “Last year was particularly challenging but with thorough planning and the hard work of staff and local residents we pulled together to cope with difficult conditions.”

The council’s safe driving advice includes:

• checking the latest weather and travel information
• making sure windscreens are properly defrosted, mirrors and lights are clear of snow and ice, wipers are working properly and the radiator has the correct amount of water and anti-freeze
• checking the battery is in good condition and fully-charged and there’s more than enough fuel for the journey
• making sure tyre pressure is correct and consider fitting winter tyres for greater grip
• carrying a shovel, ice scraper, torch, wellington boots, warm clothes and for longer journeys packing food and a hot drink. 

Motorists are also urged to park responsibly during snow and ice keeping the roads clear for gritting and emergency vehicles to pass.


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