Southampton stands ready for the worst of the winter weather

Gritter crews and flood response teams ready for season

Southampton City Council’s Highways Partnership is ready to keep the city moving should the worst of the British weather come our way.

The council’s highways partner, Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP), has sent its fleet out on test runs and will be closely monitoring temperatures on the road network. Crews are poised and ready to treat the roads when the temperature falls.

24/7 response to flooding

We also have teams on standby 24/7 to respond to flooding on the highway and pump away water to keep the city moving. We regularly clear drains and gullies through an extensive year-round maintenance programme but it is still possible that areas of the city may flood following periods of heavy rainfall. Residents and commuters can report localised flooding to us on our website.

We continue to work with our partners to find a solution to the flooding on Millbrook Road West. The complexities of that location, which involves infrastructure owned by a number of organisations and not the council, is detailed in our recent statement available on our website. In the most recent event our teams managed to respond in the early hours and the road was re-opened before the morning rush hour.

900 tonnes of grit stockpiled

BBLP has 900 tonnes of grit stockpiled in the city and have access to additional stocks that are held by the Balfour Beatty Group regionally. There are four state-of-the-art gritting vehicles ready to roll, with improved gritting speeds and spread, and on-board GPS technology to monitor and audit the gritting process around the city.

Keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, we will deploy the gritting trucks to ensure that the network is treated before the road temperature drops below zero and before peak travel time in the morning. This gives the trucks a clearer run, as it is more difficult to treat the roads effectively when there is a lot of traffic on the network.

Prioritising key roads for gritting

Southampton has a total of 369 miles of roads within its boundaries. It’s simply not practical or cost-effective to treat the entire network so roads are prioritised according to how much traffic they carry and their importance to the flow of the wider network.

Where possible we will prioritise the gritting and clearance of main access footpaths and those with high footfall in times of prolonged severe weather. If there are extended periods of freezing conditions or snowfall we can divert staff from their normal duties to grit and clear main access footpaths. Visit our gritting page and enter your postcode for more information on the priority routes in your area.

Gritting bins

The Southampton Highways Partnership provides over 320 grit bins across the city. The locations of these can also be found on our gritting page.

All our grit bins are being filled this week and we are installing 10 new ones as a result of resident requests.

Anyone can apply for a grit bin on this website and the location will be assessed against criteria such as hills, sharp bends and amenity needs. If it scores sufficiently then subject to the council having available funding one will be installed. Throughout the winter season please make sure you report empty grit bins via our website and they will be refilled.

Residents should not be put off clearing footways because they are afraid someone will get injured. There is no law stopping individuals from clearing snow and ice on the footway outside their homes or from public spaces. The government has produced a Snow Code providing practical advice for householders wishing to clear snow and ice from footpaths outside their homes or from public spaces.

The grit in these public bins is provided for use on public roads and footpaths only and should not be used to grit private properties.

Take extra care

Cllr Jacqui Rayment, Cabinet Member for Transport & Public Realm at Southampton City Council, said: “Together with our highways partners at Balfour Beatty we are well prepared for winter. We’ve got plenty of grit in stock and more available if it’s needed. We also have teams on standby ready to respond to localised flooding problems. You can check our website to find the locations of our grit bins or to request a refill if any of them are running low which may happen if we have a prolonged period of cold.

“Please remember to look out for your neighbours this winter, particularly if they are elderly or have limited mobility. Take extra care on the roads and pavements should we face any extreme winter weather.”

Drivers can keep up to date with all the latest on Southampton’s roads by following @scchighways on Twitter. We also recommend signing up for City News updates from Stay Connected, our email alert service via our website.