Gritting and snow clearance
We have a computerised Ice Prediction System which gives us the latest weather information as well as actual road surface temperatures and other information from various sensor sites around the County.
Salting is carried out when there is a clear probability of ice or snow, when wet road surfaces are expected to fall to, or below, 0º Celsius.
Whenever snow is forecast we aim to pre-salt all the priority 1 and priority 2 routes prior to snow falling.
However this is not always possible, for example when it starts as rain and turns to snow. When this occurs salting is delayed until the rain stops in order to prevent the salt from being washed away.
This situation can be even more difficult if it occurs during the rush hour as traffic congestion impedes the gritters progress. Once snow has fallen we will continue to work around the clock until all roads are clear. Priority 1 and 2 roads will be cleared first, followed by all other roads, although we sometimes have to return to the priority 1 and 2 roads before all the other roads are clear, to ensure they remain clear of ice and snow.
This will often be necessary towards the end of the day, especially when the snow has been thawing all day and evening temperatures fall below freezing causing the melt water to freeze.
During periods of snow we deploy our fleet of 17 gritters equipped with snow ploughs and 3 snow blowers. We also have a network of farmers that we can call on to help clear the roads. However, salt will not instantaneously remove snow or ice. The action of traffic is essential for salting to be effective by breaking down the salt granules to form a saline solution which lowers the freezing point of water.
We give careful consideration to the location and provision of salt bins to ensure maximum benefit is obtained. Salt bins should only be provided in residential areas adjacent to shopping areas, part way up hills steeper than 1 in 10 and in other areas where both need and usage can be demonstrated which aren't included in precautionary salting routes. We do not supply salt for households but it can be purchased from builders' merchants or you can use dishwasher salt.
You can view the location of our Salt Bins using our Interactive Mapping.
Footways will not receive pre-treatment. They would only receive attention when snow or ice is present and is likely to persist and as resources are available. The priority with regards footways and footpaths is that precedence will be given to those that carry the greatest number of pedestrians, that is in the main shopping and commercial areas, outside hospitals, schools, homes for the blind and other similar facilities. In addition, priority will also be given where there are areas with gradients greater than 10%.