The Highways team at Bath & North East Somerset Council have begun their preparations for winter by stocking up on gritting salt, refilling grit bins and making sure its fleet of gritting lorries are ready.
2,176 tonnes of salt has been procured and is in dry storage at the council’s Clutton depot, with all 434 of the council’s grit bins currently being checked and refilled. Spreading gritting salt onto highways helps prevent ice forming on road surfaces and makes them safer for road users.
A dry run has also taken place, making sure all of the council’s nine gritting lorries are ready after their summer services.
The council will be able to store more salt this year thanks to a newly constructed salt barn in Keynsham as part of the new Keynsham Recycling Hub. Once operational in December, this storage facility will allow the council to hold 1,000 tonnes of salt, increasing the total amount the council can store considerably and reducing the need to replenish stocks mid-winter.
On average the council carries out 57 gritting runs and uses 2,581 tonnes of salt each year as it maintains 1,102km of highway. Each gritting run sees nine gritting vehicles deployed to prioritised highways like A roads, B roads, bus routes and roads which provide access to schools and hospitals.
Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport, said: “Our Highways team is ready and prepared to keep our road network safe and running as the colder weather approaches. Keeping key routes open is a high priority for us to make sure all road users can get to where they need to be.”
Last winter the Highway’s team:
- Carried out 61 gritting runs
- Used 2,481 tonnes of salt
- Gritted 42,114km of highway
As temperatures drop, the Highways team will closely monitor specialist forecasts and data from its own weather stations to identify when low temperatures and weather conditions pose a threat to road users. Gritting runs are needed whenever road temperatures near freezing. There are 18 specially trained drivers on stand-by to respond when required.