Gritter Teams Ready For Cold Snap
“We are fully stocked with grit and prepared for the predicted winter weather. The gritters will be out to keep traffic on the move as often as necessary.”
A 13,000-tonne grit mountain has been stockpiled in Witchford to fight the freeze in Cambridgeshire this winter, with a further 5,000 tonnes on order.
And for the first time Cambridgeshire County Council has a new quad bike and five backpack sprayers in its arsenal of winter weapons to target harder-to-reach areas including footpaths and cycle paths.
With the Met Office predicting snow in the next two days, council staff said they were ready to keep the traffic moving, with 38 gritting lorries and 60 drivers on standby.
The forecast is for up to 5cm of snow inland, and up to 10cm on high ground, and freezing overnight temperatures.
Councillor Mac McGuire, deputy leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and cabinet member for highways and access, said: “We are fully stocked with grit and prepared for the predicted winter weather. The gritters will be out to keep traffic on the move as often as necessary.”
Cambridgeshire’s new quadbike will be used to treat footpaths, cycleways and some off-road cycle and footpaths routes such as those crossing the city’s parks and commons.
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A spokesman said: “We have leased the machinery for 20 weeks at a cost of around �190 a week.
“It would cost about �13,000 to buy and we would then also have all the maintenance costs, so it is much more cost effective to lease.”
The council’s moves were partly in response to the Winter Resilience Review commissioned by the Government after last year’s severe weather, which saw the most prolonged period of sub-zero temperatures in 30 years.
Among the recommendations was that authorities should address the issues of pedestrian access and footway treatments.
The county council’s recent Winter Policy Review looked at which routes on the ‘precautionary network’ would be treated. Criteria taken into account include the need for routes to take no more than two hours to complete, reducing the time gritters travel on already treated roads, and deciding which roads linked important roads.
The policy will cover all A and B roads, links to A&E hospitals and other emergency services, strategic locations and roads next to major fen drains, routes of frequently-scheduled buses and distributor roads to industrial estates.
The roads where buses are less frequent than five times a week and links to small hamlets will also be treated through the secondary network, when there are five or more days of sub zero weather forecast.
For a list of gritting routes see the website www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/roads/winter/
The Highways Agency, part of the Department for Transport, is responsible for major routes and the motorways and the gritting of these routes in Cambridgeshire is carried out by AM Scott on behalf of the Highways Agency.