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Wiltshire highways teams getting ready for winter weather

Wiltshire Council's winter maintenance teams are gearing up for the colder weather by taking the gritters out on test runs in the coming weeks.

Published 20 October 2022
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Wiltshire Council's winter maintenance teams are gearing up for the colder weather by taking the gritters out on test runs in the coming weeks.

Some of the council's fleet of 24 gritters are set to be taken out across the county from 25 October  to test that the equipment is in working order and to enable the crews to familiarise themselves with the routes.

Equipment is normally deployed when the road temperatures require them, with salting taking place whenever road temperatures near freezing. Last year the crews were deployed 41 times and distributed 5,000 tonnes of salt across approximately 730 miles of A and B roads.

Salt is usually used on roads after the evening peak of traffic or before the morning rush, as late evening and early morning are the most likely times that frost and ice affect road surfaces. All key routes in Wiltshire receive precautionary salting when ice is forecast, including motorways, trunk roads and class A and B roads.

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Cabinet Member for Transport and Street Scene, said: Our winter maintenance team is ready to help keep residents and road users safe across Wiltshire during the colder months.

The team provides a vital service, often is difficult conditions, so it is vitally important that we carry out these test runs to ensure that everything will run smoothly as and when the teams are called upon.

Duty engineers will monitor the weather 24/7 during the season, supported by highways staff, with 24 gritter drivers on standby to be called into action at any time.

We state our mission to provide well-connected communities in our business plan, and our teams are well trained, prepared and equipped to help keep Wiltshire moving and safe this winter.

People are encouraged to be cautious when the roads may be icy or in severe weather, firstly considering whether a journey is necessary and driving to the conditions of the road. During the winter, roads are treated in order of priority and dependent on conditions, and people are urged not to assume that a road has been gritted, as many of the minor roads will receive no treatment.

The council has 11,000 tonnes of salt in stock, strategically placed throughout the county in six storage sites. Weather stations are positioned in key areas to provide real-time information and assist in producing accurate forecasts to ensure gritters are sent out at the right time.

On average it can take up to 140 tonnes of salt to grit Wiltshire's A and B class roads and 230 tonnes to salt an extended list of roads during prolonged cold weather.

People are advised to follow the council social media accounts on @WiltshireWinter (opens new window) and the main council account @wiltscouncil (opens new window) for regular updates on both the weather and road conditions.

People can report any winter road or salt bin issues under the weather emergency section of the MyWilts online reporting service.

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