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Cumbria council's gritters ready for action

The gritters are ready for action. Credit: Cumbria County Council

As the weather gets colder, and roads more slippery, Cumbria County Council has announced its gritters are ready for action.

Over the next few months they will be out on the county's roads, trying to make them safer for drivers.

It's a difficult task, and they will be treating areas of road equivalent to the distance between Penrith and Barcelona:

The budget set aside for winter roads maintenance
Or 1,490 miles, is the distance of highway the council will routinely be treating.
Tonnes of salt stockpiled
Gritters are ready for action

The council says Priority One routes, including many of the county's main roads, are treated in fewer than three hours in freezing conditions.

Priority Two roads, including A, B and C roads, will be treated in five hours.

I know our winter maintenance service is greatly valued by the travelling public and the council remains committed to providing the best possible service, even at a time of unprecedented pressure on council budgets.

Dealing with severe winter conditions on a road network like Cumbria’s, with some of the highest terrain and most challenging conditions in the country, is a complex operation and once again we’re prepared for another busy winter ahead.

Our gritting teams play a vital role in keeping the county moving, often going out at night in extreme weather to ensure Cumbria stays connected.”

– Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council


Scottish Borders Council announces winter service plan

Scottish Borders Council have announced that they will spend £16,000 to increase the number of salt bins in the region to almost 1,000.

The funding announcement comes just 24 hours after the Scottish Government launched its Ready for Winter campaign.

Through 2012 to 2013, salt usage was up to 43,000 tonnes from 23,000 the previous year, and staff were called out 271 times to pre-salt roads in 2012/13 - considerably higher than the annual winter average of 180.

"The Borders witnessed extreme weather throughout last winter, with rainfall in November 2012 above the monthly average by 130 per cent, while March 2013 was the coldest for 51 years.

"However, the Council's roads team continues to work hard to ensure as best they can that roads and pathways are clear for drivers and pedestrians during severe weather.

– Councillor Gordon Edgar, Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure

"I am delighted to see more salt bins being provided across the Borders.

"Despite the financial challenges the Council is under, the performance of its winter service was impressive during 2012/13.

"The proposed developments for the future should help to keep this performance at a high level."

– Councillor David Paterson, Executive Member for Environmental Services

Council launches 'Gritter Twitter' service

Cumbria County Council has launched a Twitter service so people can keep track of gritting plans during the winter months. They've also introduced a new online map which is updated daily showing which routes the fleet of gritters intend to treat.

Twitter users can find it through Cumbria County Council's Twitter account at @CumbriaCC The interactive map can be viewed on the council's website

The new online information service will help keep drivers safe on Cumbria's roads during the winter months and is representative of the county council's determination to be innovative in making important information available to members of the public in a timely and accessible way.

– Cllr Tony Markley, Cumbria County Council


Highways Agency says Cumbria is prepared for winter

The Highways Agency says Cumbria is well prepared for any severe weather this winter. It has 17 gritters available across Cumbria and North Lancs and nine depots, each holding hundreds of tonnes of salt. The Agency also says two snow-blowing machines can be used if the weather turns very wintry.

The gritters can be mobilised in under an hour, which includes the time needed to load the vehicles and they say all A roads and motorways should be gritted in under three hours.The Highways Agency is showing off its fleet of vehicles at its Penrith depot today.

At the same time it's encouraging drivers to travel safely this winter. It's giving the following advice to people who are delayed by maintenance or improvement works on the roads:

  • Keep within the speed limit
  • Get into the correct lane in good time
  • Concentrate on the road ahead, not roadworks
  • Be alert for traffic entering or leaving roadworks
  • Keep a safe distance
  • Observe all signs