Gritters combat severe weather

PUBLISHED: 09:54 06 January 2006 | UPDATED: 11:27 04 May 2010

Having fun in the short-lived snow

Having fun in the short-lived snow

CAMBRIDGESHIRE S fleet of 35 gritters were out 11 times between Christmas Day and New Year s Eve to help motorists cope with the most severe weather of the winter so far. The lowest temperature in the county was minus five degrees centigrade, recorded o

CAMBRIDGESHIRE'S fleet of 35 gritters were out 11 times between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve to help motorists cope with the most severe weather of the winter so far.

The lowest temperature in the county was minus five degrees centigrade, recorded on the A14 at Bythorn, in west Huntingdonshire, while the A10 at Littleport registered minus four degrees. Four inches of snow fell over the week.

Gritters were first sent out at 4pm on Christmas Day, spreading 1,700 tonnes of rock salt at a cost of £140,000. Cambridgeshire County Council's maintenance engineer, David Groom, said: "No matter what the weather or time of night, we have been out gritting the roads to make people's journeys as safe as possible." He also warned: "Although gritting is effective, it does not mean a road is completely clear of ice and motorists should take extra care and make sure their vehicles are clear of snow and ice."

A new method of pre-wet gritting, which was pioneered in Cambridgeshire, was used to make the roads safer. Brine is mixed with salt before it is spread on the road, reducing the amount of salt used and making it more environmentally friendly. The procedure means that the salt is more likely to stay on the road during windy conditions and is effective on dry roads when ice is expected.

* Philip Hicks (right) making the most of the cold snap at Cherry Hill in Ely and St George's Church at Littleport covered in snow.

Photos: HELEN SOUTH.

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