Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Denbighshire stocks up on salt

Before a cold snap hits this winter, Denbighshire highways teams are busy taking deliveries of enough grit to keep the county’s roads clear – 7,450 tonnes to be precise. Further deliveries will be taken as and when the need arises throughout the winter months.

Councillor Eryl Williams, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: “Every year our highways teams work all hours to ensure our roads remain as free from snow and ice as possible and I commend them for the work they do.

“Last year saw an unprecedented and prolonged cold snap which did deplete our salt stocks somewhat although we did not run out unlike other counties across the UK.

“This year we have increased the amount we have in stock in order to make sure we don’t run out should we have similar weather this winter.”

Every year, Denbighshire’s highways teams spread salt to prevent ice from forming on almost 400 miles of road on every night when frost or icy conditions are forecast.

Pre-salting is normally carried out at either 6pm or 6am dependant on the exact time of freezing and is timed to miss the peak traffic times and our 12 gritters aim to complete their routes within 2.5 hours.

No matter how accurate the forecast, there are situations when gritting teams cannot salt the roads prior to the onset of icy conditions:

· When rain is followed by rapidly clearing skies, salting is normally deferred until the rain stops to prevent it being washed off.

· Dawn frost occurs on dry roads. When early morning dew falls on a cold road and freezes on impact. It is impossible to forecast with any accuracy when this will occur.

· Rush hour snowfall. When rain turns to snow coinciding with rush hour traffic early salting cannot take place as it would wash off and gritters cannot make progress due to traffic congestion.

A prioritised network of treatment routes, which also forms the basis for snow and ice clearance priorities, has been developed based on the network hierarchy, peak traffic flows and type of use.

The criteria used to select these routes is listed below:

1. Main classified routes (A&B roads)

2. Main distributor of spine roads

3. Main access routes to shopping areas

4. Principal bus routes

5. Primary routes serving substantial villages/communities

6. Access routes to hospitals, schools, cemeteries etc

7. Access to police, fire, ambulance and rescue services

8. Main industrial routes of importance to the local economy

9. Areas where know problems exist, such as exposed areas, steep gradients and other roads liable to icing.


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