Two out of the last three winters have been very harsh with large snowfalls and record low temperatures and Hampshire County Council is fully prepared and ready to keep the county moving this winter.
Salt barns are full with enough salt for 15 days continuous round-the-clock salting, 3,000 community salt bins are filled, salting routes have been checked and 100 farmers are at the ready with snow ploughs. Amey, the County Council's highway maintenance partner, has replaced eight old spreaders with new ones navigated by GPS, a technology that makes very efficient use of salt by tracking the progress of the lorries in real time. Round-the-clock monitoring of road surface temperatures and weather forecasts means that winter highways teams are ready to treat roads in advance of temperatures plummeting.
Hampshire has 5,600 miles of road and a priority system has to be used so that available resources are used effectively. Priority 1 routes carry 85% of total traffic in Hampshire and include A roads, major bus routes, roads to major emergency services, areas of high traffic concentration and all public transport areas. These Priority 1 routes are routinely treated when the road surface temperature is forecast to drop below 0 degrees C.
Priority 2 routes include B roads and single access roads to villages and schools, as well as emergency and public services not already treated, while Community routes include roads to smaller schools, GP surgeries and areas of community activity. These routes are treated during periods of prolonged severe weather.
There is an interactive salt routes map available to the public, that can be searched by post code to locate priority routes across Hampshire.
Hampshire County Council's Councillor Mel Kendal, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Environment and Transport says:
"We have made significant investment over the past three years to improve Hampshire's road network and resilience to extreme weather. Our roads are a key foundation to the regional economy and it is vital that we keep main routes open so that people can carry on with their normal, day-to-day activities.
"We have successfully completed our annual trial runs of salting routes in advance of the winter period, and our winter monitoring systems are live. We are committed to keeping Hampshire's roads open during the winter but if we do experience severe weather, I'd like to remind people to consider if their journey is absolutely necessary, and if so, to drive according to the weather conditions. Also to check the weather forecast before setting out and to park considerately so that the salting lorries are not obstructed when they are out treating the roads. Everyone can help in their community and 'do their bit' by treating the public paths, pavements and minor roads in their area with salt from community bins."
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Q: How do highway teams treat icy roads?
A: The teams treat the roads with rock salt using a pre-wetted salt system which is effective to temperatures down to -10oC. The salt melts existing ice and prevents new ice from forming. The salt must be ‘trafficked’ (driven into the ice by traffic) to be effective and must be topped up if the icy conditions last
Q: What is a pre-wetted salt system?
A: This system sprays brine onto dry salt as it is discharged from the vehicles. It is more effective as the salt goes into solution faster and remains on the road surface longer and is kind to the environment as less ‘wetted’ salt needs to be spread to give the same results as dry salt
Q: How long does it take to salt the whole road network?
A: It takes between 2.5 to 3.5 hours to salt the entire priority road network. There are 47 First Priority salting routes with an average length each of 35 miles and each lorry carries five tonnes of salt
Q: Why isn’t grit used on the roads?
A: Rock salt is more effective at melting ice than a salt/grit combination, has less impact on the environment and means that more salt can be carried by each lorry
Q: How can I help my local community?
A: Parish councils have snow shovels that you can use to clear snow and community salt bins are available for treating public paths, pavements and minor roads. Find your nearest salt bin by post code: maps.hants.gov.uk/saltroutesmap
Q: I never see anyone salting the roads
A: Highway teams normally treat roads during the night before the rush hour so the salt is ready to be bedded in by the cars. This bedding-in process is known as ‘trafficking. The timing also prevents the lorries from getting stuck in heavy traffic
Q: It snowed this morning but no one has been out salting
A: Highways teams only treat if the road temperature on main routes falls below 0oC
Q: What can I do if the salt runs out in my community salt bin?
A: Report it via the road problems webpage.
Q: Why is my road never treated?
A: Hampshire is a large county with 5,600 miles of road and a priority system has to be used so that available resource is used efficiently.
There are 47 First Priority routes that carry 85% of total traffic in Hampshire and include A roads, major bus routes, roads to major emergency services, areas of high traffic concentration and all public transport areas. Priority 1 routes are routinely treated when ice, frost or snow is forecast
Second Priority routes include B roads and single accesses to villages, schools, and emergency and public services not already treated while Community routes include roads to smaller schools, GP surgeries and areas of community activity. These are treated during periods of prolonged severe weather
Find out where the Priority routes are by post code.