Wiltshire Publications

Gritters ready for Wiltshire’s Roads

WILTSHIRE’S gritter fleet is prepared for anything the weather may throw at it this winter.

The sight of the big yellow lorries on the county’s roads is a sure sign winter is upon us, and all 48 of Wiltshire Council’s gritters and snow ploughs are on standby ready for action.

This gritter fleet is the county’s first line of defence against snow and ice, and the crews work through the night to keep the county’s roads open in particularly severe weather. There is also a number of smaller gritters and ploughs for use in town centres and housing estates. In addition, 130 farmers are ready to help out should they be needed.

Cabinet member for highways, John Thomson, said, “Our aim is to keep the main road network as safe as we can and keep the traffic moving. The gritter fleet is the core of our winter maintenance program, although we are always ready to react to floods and high winds if needed.

“We also urge motorists and other road users to help themselves with some simple steps such as checking the weather forecast before they travel, planning their route and performing simple checks on their vehicle. In severe weather conditions all road users should ask themselves if their journey is really needed, and they must never assume a road has been gritted.”

Every year the gritters spread thousands of tonnes of rock salt on the county’s road network to reduce the risk of accidents caused by ice. The standard gritting route covers around 725 miles, or a quarter of the county’s road network. This can be increased to cover up to half the network if the weather is particularly severe.

Highways staff receive regular updates on weather conditions from the Met Office as well as from a series of sensors which are buried under the roads in order to get the most up to date information on which to make decisions about gritting.

More information is available at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/gritting or by following @wiltshirewinter on Twitter.