Salt spreaders and snow ploughs are at the ready
Monday, 18 November 2013
16,000 tonnes of salt is stocked, highways teams and emergency crews are in place, 60 salting lorries are ready and local weather forecast arrangements and ice detection systems are all set up and ready to tackle the winter ahead.
Hampshire County Council is prepared, once again, to take on the wintery conditions that may occur, with enough salt for 15 days of continuous salting, this equates to salting approximately 75,000 miles of roads. Some 3,000 community salt bins around the County are being topped up so local communities can help themselves to keep pavements and smaller roads clear from ice and snow, and 120 farmers and other contractors are on stand-by with snow ploughs.
With 5,600 miles of road in Hampshire, the council along with Amey treat them on a priority basis to keep Hampshire moving. 'Priority One' routes carry 80 per cent of the total traffic in Hampshire and include A roads, some B roads, major bus routes, roads to major emergency services, large schools, areas of high traffic concentration and all public transport areas.
These Priority One routes are routinely treated when the road surface temperature is forecast to drop below zero degrees celsius or ice/ frost is predicted. It can take up to three and a half hours to complete the pre-salting of a Priority One route.
After several days of prolonged severe weather, 'Priority Two' routes, which include remaining B roads and single access roads to villages may be treated. Additionally, community routes may also be treated to ensure roads to other smaller schools, GPs surgeries and areas of community activity are usable.
Members of the public can get live updates of when and where road salting is taking place by following the Hampshire County Council's twitter feed: @hantsconnect.
Last year saw prolonged severe weather across Hampshire which led to 88 per cent more salt being spread than in 2011-12. Overall the Council carried out 110 full salting runs, covered 308,000 kilometres and spread 24,500 tonnes of salt.
Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: "After the harsh conditions of the last three years we are ready to face the oncoming winter months. We are committed to making sure, as far as possible, that people can access health services; get to work, school and the shops during freezing temperatures.
"However, we all have a part to play in keeping Hampshire's roads moving, and I would ask people to always consider if their journey is essential during bad weather, to drive according to the conditions and to remember that even if a road surface looks black it does not mean it is free of ice."
Stephen Munro, Amey's business director, said, "We have more than 30 new vehicles in our winter fleet this year, which is part of our commitment to invest in the best machinery and technology for Hampshire's roads. Our winter planning started six months ago and staff are now on standby around the clock until next Spring. As well as a full salt barn, the community salt bins are being stocked up so people can help themselves during cold snaps, particularly in communities that are not on salting routes."