True Grit – Warwickshire’s gritting team takes to the roads to keep county safe

Warwickshire’s gritting team has received a visit from the county council’s leader as she paid tribute to the work performed by the team in keeping the county moving throughout the recent snow.

Last weekend which saw temperatures plunge to well below freezing in many parts of the country, particularly in the Midlands and the South East of the UK, was particularly hazardous for drivers, with heavy snowfall bringing the usual fears of travel disruption.

The conditions saw much of Warwickshire struggling early on that week with many of the county’s roads experiencing ice making conditions serious for many motorists.

But, while many drivers were reluctant to take to the roads, one team that was at the forefront of the battle to keep moving was Warwickshire County Council’s gritting team who, as soon as temperatures reached the point where there was the danger of ice forming on the roads, were out along designated gritting routes doing their bit to keep the county running.

The criterion for launching the Warwickshire gritters out onto the network is when weather conditions predict the possibility of ice forming on the road surface.  This is the trigger for  the county’s team to salt the highway network before any ice forms.

The team grits 46% of Warwickshire’s 3,820 kilometre (2,368 mile) highway network.  This comprises

  • all main traffic routes, A roads, most B roads and one or other two other strategic routes;
  • in urban areas, the accesses to hospitals and main industrial estates;
  • a single route into all villages.

Over the past week Warwickshire’s drivers spread a total of 3,200 tonnes of salt and drove over 8,000 miles.

During her recent visit to the depot in Budbrooke, Warwick, Warwickshire County Council’s Leader, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, recently paid a visit to gritting teams in recognition of the integral work they do. During this visit she saw how the weather conditions were monitored and also went out in one of the gritting lorries during salting operations, to experience first hand the hard work and effort that goes into delivering the service. She said:

“Gritting is a vital service in keeping Warwickshire moving. When the cold weather hits, safety on the roads of paramount importance. But, beyond keeping them safe, I wonder if people realise just how critical the service is. It is not as if we could simply ride the storm out.  We have to keep the county moving, whatever the weather.

“We cannot allow healthcare providers not to be able to travel to work and look after our vulnerable people.  We cannot afford for people not to be able to travel to work and for the economy to stutter to a halt.

“It was great to spend some time with our drivers, many of whom are retained volunteers, and learn about what’s involved in keeping Warwickshire going through the winter months”

For further information about gritting, including gritting routes, please visit: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/gritting