Wokingham Borough Council’s gritting lorries have been out regularly during one of the coldest December periods since 2010, helping keep roads safe and traffic moving this winter. As temperatures drop, teams are on standby to grit roads across the borough.
The council’s winter service plan for 2022-23 sets out how the teams from its contractor VolkerHighways spring into action when weather conditions, deteriorate or when temperatures are close to or below freezing. There are five of these vehicles on standby from November through to April 2023 when the weather is at its coldest.
About 1,500 tonnes of salt is kept at Toutley depot in Wokingham, which helps to keep the roads cleared through the winter period. This is used to cover all the primary routes in the borough, with each run seeing our teams cover 273km (170 miles) on average, with an additional 96km (60 miles) of secondary routes and 151km (94 miles) of third tier routes treated when the weather conditions are exceptionally bad.
Keeping you up to date
Daily weather reports are processed to set out whether the primary routes in the borough will be pre-salted on cold nights. These routes would be supplemented with additional gritting on secondary routes if a prolonged period of hazardous weather is expected. When information is received in time, plans for gritting are then published on the council’s Traffic and Travel pages on Facebook and Twitter.
Before the season began, the teams completed dry runs to spot and rectify any overgrowing vegetation and test other equipment. This includes attaching the snow ploughs and calibrating each route for the amount of grit they need.
If heavy snow does fall this winter, routes are cleared in descending order of priority, with the most used roads cleared first. A full list of primary, secondary and third tier roads can be found on the council website. It also outlines the 47 salt bins we keep topped up, as well as locations we prioritise clearing such as outside schools, town centres and cycleways.
The gritters are ‘all-wheel drive’ and have on-board weighing, meaning the gritters can measure and carry the optimum amount of road salt required to be spread for forecast conditions which saves time, fuel and reduces emissions.
Keeping traffic moving
“Our gritting service is in full swing after we’ve seen temperatures drop well below zero and had our first snow of the season,” said Councillor Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, transport and highways.
“Road users safety and keeping traffic moving are among the key priorities for our highways teams, and while people still need to be cautious and take appropriate measures to protect themselves and others, gritting the network helps us keep residents and visitors safe while out and about this winter.”
For more information on snow, ice and safe winter driving residents can visit the council’s website.
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