Northants Gritters Ready to Respond
|Author: Holly Skelton||Published: 13th October 2020 15:17|
Northamptonshire's 20-strong gritting team is now officially on standby for when the cold weather hits and all three depots in Brixworth, Towcester and Wellingborough are fully stocked with tonnes of salt ready to spread.
The team have been preparing for the new season, which starts on October 15 2020, with the added addition of ensuring drivers providing this essential service are safe and working according to Government guidelines on social distancing.
This year’s fleet of gritters has enhanced technology meaning the need for two people in a vehicle is not required unless there is heavy snow. The new technology provides route data and feeds back to the snow desk to ensure gritters are on route and safe.
The usual group winter inductions have been taking place online and remotely.
The county council will use weather stations and sensors along Northamptonshire's roads to return temperature readings every 15 minutes and weather forecasts every hour. Individual roads from the precautionary network will be gritted when forecasts predict the weather will drop below 0.5C for that area.
A team monitors the sensors from 6am to midnight from the Highways Depot and monitors it remotely between midnight and 7am. Should there be severe weather forecasted in advance then the temperatures are monitored from the depots 24 hours a day.
Northamptonshire has one of the longest gritting routes in the country and last year the highways team introduced a more cost effective way of working, where routes are individually assessed based on localised weather forecasts and real-time temperature sensors.
Route-based forecasting means that gritting does not take place when it’s not necessary and allows cost savings to be made.
Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for Highways and Place, Cllr Jason Smithers said: “We’re making sure that we are ready to respond when the cold weather arrives. Keeping the county moving during the winter is a huge task and we have to be ready to tackle whatever weather we get.
“We would always advise that drivers should never assume that a road has been gritted and should drive with caution when there has been a frost. Even when a road has received a gritting treatment, the salt requires activation from the movement of vehicles - because a road has been gritted it does not mean that all risk of accident has been eliminated.”
1500 grit bins have been filled for use on public roads and footpaths. As stocks run low people can report bins that need refilling via our Street Doctor Service www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/streetdoctor. A map showing gritting routes can also be found at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/gritting.