It’s not deteriorating winter weather that will see the council’s gritting fleet out on the roads tonight. The lorries will be undergoing test runs – and driver route familiarisation – as they prepare to keep the roads safe and traffic moving this winter.
The tests will ensure the council’s fleet of nine low emission gritters are ready to be deployed at short notice when temperatures drop.
Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport said: “Our winter season doesn’t officially start until 1 November, but we’ve been monitoring weather forecasts closely since the beginning of this month. These test runs will ensure our team are ready to deploy quickly if they need to.
“Despite the national shortage, we have a full eighteen-strong team of experienced HGV Winter Trained drivers to cover our nine priority gritting routes. To provide extra resilience we train up additional staff to drive the lorries and can also call on supply chain drivers to provide cover should the need arise.
“Working alongside our partner VolkerHighways, our priority is to keep the roads safe and traffic moving whatever the weather.”
More than 38 per cent of the road network is treated by the council during freezing conditions – a total of 263 miles of highway which is more than the national average. For a second winter the council has also agreed to grit the access to the vaccination centre at Bath Race Course.
To ensure the maximum level of support is given to residential and business communities across the district the gritting fleet can operate around the clock.
The gritters are ‘all-wheel drive’, have a GPS-controlled automatic spreading system and mapping software that allows the driver to cover any route in any vehicle. On-board weighing means the gritters can measure and carry the optimum amount of road salt required to be spread for forecast conditions saving time, fuel and reducing emissions.
The council’s road salt storage facility at Clutton currently houses 300 tonnes of road salt and a further 1000 tonnes will be delivered by the end of the month. Another 1000 tonnes have been stockpiled in reserve at the council’s depot near Peasedown St John.
The 434 grit bins sited across the district for public use are also being refilled.
During any severe winter weather, the council provides regular updates about the status of its services on www.twitter.com/bathnes
Residents are reminded that the council is unable to supply salt directly to the public and they should not attempt to enter council highways depots for safety reasons.
People can play their part in helping the council to manage the road network during severe weather by reporting any problems by calling: 01225 3934041, emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ccbathnes
For more information, including a winter advice leaflet offering tips on dealing with severe winter weather on highways and pavements, and Government guidance for householders clearing snow and ice outside their property, go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/gritting