Gritting teams prepared for final winter push

gritting lorries being prepared for action
  • Teams are on standby 24/7 and working around the clock responding to the cold snap 
  • Over 20,000km of highway has been treated by teams since the start of October
  • Priority network has been gritted 48 times and in doing so the council has used 70% more salt than last year

With the cold snap showing no signs of letting up the council’s winter maintenance team continue to work flat out to keep the borough moving.

To date, teams have already gritted the priority network more than the whole of last winter with 20,000km of highway covered across the borough.

While being on standby 24/7, staff have been out 48 times to treat the priority network and in doing so have used 70% more salt than last year.

Last year the specialist covered barn at Makerfield Depot was filled to capacity with 4,000t of coated rock salt in preparation for the winter season.

Whilst stocks should be enough to last till spring, the winter maintenance team continually liaises with suppliers in case there is a need to refresh stocks due to further periods of cold weather.

Councillor Paul Prescott, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “Like any other year a lot of preparation has gone into minimising potential disruption and our teams have responded brilliantly to a particularly cold few months.

“The stats speak for themselves and staff have gone the extra mile to keep the roads safe. I’d still like to remind residents who are making essential journeys to drive carefully as roads still may be icy and to check our gritting routes before they leave.”

Every decision to treat the network is made by utilising technology by accessing information from 27 sensors dotted around the borough attached to roadside equipment which provide real-time road-surface temperature data.

With teams responsible for  treating Greater Manchester’s second longest road network, priority is given to maintaining safe driving conditions on those most frequently used roads including principal bus routes and routes for the emergency services.

Council bosses also want to remind residents about the responsible use of grit bins in the borough. While the council has already replaced salt in all the borough’s grit bins twice, they are only replenished during and immediately after periods of adverse weather.

They are placed in strategic locations to help deal with specific hazards and using the grit for other purposes could lead to unnecessary risks to other people if the grit runs out.

“Please help everyone by not using the grit for purposes other than for gritting the roads and pavements in the vicinity of the bin,” Coun Prescott added.

“I’d ask residents to be mindful of others when using them and to not misuse salt for the treatment of private driveways. Please check the website for the criteria before applying for a grit bin.”

Criteria applications for grit bins can be found online.

Stay tuned to the council’s social media channels for updates on when the borough’s roads are being treated – @WiganCouncil on Twitter and Facebook – Wigan Council.