Highway Maintenance

Road Salting

Map showing which roads are treated with salt

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Priority order for road salting

Roads are treated in a priority order, in line with national guidelines.

We routinely treat only the first priority routes in the event of forecasted ice, frost or snow and we carry out this treatment in advance of the forecasted conditions to achieve the most effective results. In other words we focus our efforts on enabling the safe movement of traffic on first priority roads as far as possible . Lower priority roads are not treated in this way. It is important that drivers take extra care during severe weather and drivers should not assume that all roads have been treated.

  • First priority routes are 'A' class roads, access roads to emergency services establishments and to areas of high traffic concentration, and other heavily used roads. First priority routes cover approximately 25% of the road network, but they carry around 85% of all traffic.

  • Second priority routes are single accesses to villages, to schools, to emergency and to other public services not already treated. These are only treated following prolonged freezing conditions.

  • Community Routes  are routes to all other Hampshire controlled schools and community facilities such as Health Centres and treatment will generally only be carried out during periods of prolonged and persistent frost,ice or snow which are expected to continue.

Circumstances which may prevent road salting from taking place

No matter how accurate the weather forecast, there are some situations where we do not salt the network prior to icy conditions because this would be ineffective:

  • When rain is followed by rapidly clearing skies, salting will normally start soon after the rain has stopped (to avoid the salt being washed away). Sometimes temperatures can fall rapidly following rainfall and the wet roads may well freeze before we have been able to treat them.

  • Rush hour snowfall. When rain turns to snow coinciding with the rush hour, early salting would not take place as it would be washed away and gritters can often not make progress due to traffic congestion.

Pavements and footpaths (footways)

Busy pedestrian routes will only be salted at times of prolonged sub-zero temperatures and when there is persistent frost or ice. Other pavements and footpaths are not salted.

For advice on clearing snow and ice from pavements yourself, see the snow code on the Met Office website:

Cycle tracks

  • Cycle tracks which are part of the road are treated as designated by the road priority
  • Cycle tracks which are part of the footway network are treated as the footway treatment designation

More about road salting


Did you know?

  • Hampshire County Council manages over 5,000 miles of roads
  • 45 First Priority salting routes are directly managed by Hampshire County Council on the County road network
  • The average length of each salt route is 35 miles
  • Five tonnes of salt are carried by each lorry on a salting run