We are committed to undertake an annual review of the usage and characteristics of the highway network, to ensure that the various winter service routes accurately reflect the relevant priority groupings. Following previous annual reviews we have included an additional 25km of bus routes to try and ensure main routes remain accessible, including major routes and access to hospitals. Priority One routes
: to be treated as routine pre-salting, in advance of any forecast of frost, ice or snow.
Priority Two routes
: to be treated only where there is prolonged and persistent frost or ice, which is expected to continue, or following snow.
Priority Three routes
: to be treated only after significant snow has fallen and after extended periods of extreme freezing conditions.
Please note that if you leave a vehicle parked on the road which is on a gritting route, you need to ensure there is enough width remaining (at least 3 metres) for the gritting vehicle to get past.
We do not have the resources to carry out pre-salting on footways. However, following our annual review of gritting routes and taking into account customer feedback we will be making efforts to grit some priority footways. Following extended periods of extreme freezing conditions or snowfall we will divert staff from their normal duties to grit and clear main access footway routes.
We have taken into consideration the main access footway routes and those with heavy pedestrian movement and have made arrangements that available staff will be targeted to manually clear footways along these routes in times of prolonged severe weather. There is no guarantee that these routes will be kept clear of slippery conditions but they represent the Council’s priority routes and will be targeted as resources permit.
A map of the footways we will prioritise can be found here.
Priority One (Main traffic routes)
• Main access routes to important industrial and large educational establishments
• Main access routes to major accident and emergency hospitals, and to important emergency service locations
• Roads used as major bus routes
• Roads passing through major shopping centres
• Other routes busy during peak traffic periods
• Major pedestrian precincts and pedestrian routes *
• Main cycle routes/paths *
• Special pedestrian routes *
• Bridge decks and approached
• Majority of steep gradients
• Major transport interchanges
*Following periods of extreme freezing conditions or after snowfall
Priority Two (Other traffic routes)
• Roads near other schools
• Roads used as other bus routes
• Roads to other hospitals
• Roads to minor fire and ambulance establishments
• Roads passing through other shopping centres
• Local shopping areas
• Local footways, which link communities
Priority Three - (Routes that are only attended in extreme weather conditions and on an ad-hoc basis)
• Access routes to other isolated dwellings
• Residential roads
• Pedestrian precincts and busy footways
• Cycle tracks
• All other public highways
• Subway ramps and steps
We normally have approximately 800 tonnes of salt stockpiled at City Depot and this represents an increase of over 50% on previous years. Under normal winter conditions a maximum of 40 tonnes of salt per day is required, so 800 tonnes would be nearly 3 weeks’ worth of stock. In addition to this stockpile, we have access to thousands of tonnes of salt that are held by the Balfour Beatty Group. We have 5 new gritting vehicles which have improved gritting speeds and spread and also have GPS technology on board to monitor and audit the road gritting process.
Although the process is referred to as gritting it is actually salt that is used on the road surfaces. The salt lowers the freezing point on the road surface. If the road surface is below -8°C then the salt becomes ineffective. Salt needs the traffic movement to turn the salt into brine (salty water) to melt the snow; the salt will not melt the snow by itself. The roads are pre-salted at up to 15g/m² and post-salted at up to 30g/m. A decision as to whether to pre-salt is usually taken at lunchtime and the salting normally begins around 7pm after the worst of the rush hour traffic is over and well before the expected freeze. If there is an overnight snow fall following the pre-salting then we we grit again at 4.00am with a heavier run of around 20 grams per square metre, or more.
The gritting routes currently cover over 210 miles of road. Unfortunately in spite of our best efforts gritting does not always work. Heavy rain can wash the salt away. Early morning frost can be difficult to predict. It can be very hard to grit during the rush hour and ice can form before the gritting vehicles have completed their routes.
Since the beginning of last winter we have installed over 60 new grit bins. We can’t provide grit bins everywhere but have developed a ranking system that takes into account both physical and community features. Grit from the bins is solely for the use on public roads and footways and should not be removed for private use.
Requests for new grit bins and for the filling of existing bins should go to Actionline on 0800 519 19 19 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A list of the grit bins in the city are here, alternatively to find the nearest grit bin to where you live click here
If we experience prolonged adverse weather and once the priority one and two routes are clear, we will assess and prioritise any other requests for gritting. To request gritting please contact Actionline on 0800 519 19 19 or at email@example.com
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.
If an accident did happen, it’s highly unlikely that they would be held responsible as long as they are careful and use common sense to make sure that they don’t make the footway more dangerous than before.
The Government has written a Snow Code providing practical advice for householders wishing to clear snow/ice from the footway outside their homes or from public spaces. Further information on the Snow Code can be found in the attached Winter Maintenance leaflet, including a link to the Snow Code page of the Met Office website.