Gritting crews have treated all main routes during the first freezing temperatures of the season – and are primed for further winter weather hitting Derbyshire roads.
Road temperatures, particularly on high routes, have touched freezing during the last few weeks – with the first significant snow of the winter on Saturday.
Derbyshire County Council’s fleet of 36 gritters, which can all be fitted with snow ploughs when needed, are on round-the-clock standby at six depots across the county.
Around half of the 3,500 miles of road looked after by the authority are on gritting routes, with 27,000 tonnes of salt - generally referred to as grit – stockpiled to deal with winter weather.
Councillor Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure, said: “Our gritting teams work extremely hard day and night to keep roads clear and make sure the county is safe and moving.
“They work in very challenging conditions, often unseen by the public, when most people are asleep. But for a county the size of Derbyshire, we still manage to cover around half of the roads that we are responsible for – which is much more than in many comparable areas.”
Councillor Spencer added: “It’s not realistic to be able to grit every single road so we target our gritting on the roads that benefit the greatest number of people and the most important services.”
Major roads – known as primary routes - are gritted during the day and night when necessary and are pre-gritted before bad weather hits. These include A roads, heavily-used B roads, key bus routes, roads linking towns and larger villages and roads outside bus, train, police, fire, ambulance stations and hospitals.
Secondary routes may be treated before adverse weather hits. They can include bus routes in residential areas and well-used main roads through housing estates and villages, and roads to smaller villages.
Almost 50 farmers and other contractors are paid to support the county council’s snow clearance efforts by clearing some other roads, generally in rural areas.
Volunteers also help to clear snow and ice from pavements and footpaths, and put down grit in their local communities, as part of the county council’s snow warden scheme.
The council has 803 grit bins across Derbyshire, plus 1,250 owned by town and parish councils.
Details of gritting routes, including when the route was last treated, can be found on the county council’s dedicated winter weather pages: www.derbyshire.gov.uk/snow. The pages also give details of grit bin locations.
Councillor Spencer said: “We have a team of weather action experts who monitor detailed weather data round-the-clock so we are ready to grit at a moment’s notice, if necessary.
“While we do everything possible to keep all road users safe and on the move I’d also urge motorists to be considerate in winter conditions, such as parking sensibly, so the roads remain passable for the gritters to do their work and access for emergency vehicles is maintained.”
Regular updates are posted on the county council’s social media channels when winter weather hits. Follow @derbyshirecc on Twitter and like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/derbyshirecc.