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Well prepared: gritting under way as temperatures drop

07 November 2019

Neil Emmott at a council gritting depot.

Teams at Rochdale Borough Council are ready to hit the road to tackle any ice, sleet, flooding and snow this winter. Gritting began in October 2019 and now 8 gritters are on standby ready to help keep the borough's main roads safe.

At the council depot in Princess Street in Rochdale there are over 4,500 tonnes of salt ready for spreading. 

The council is monitoring weather forecasts and road conditions, ready to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week when needed through to the middle of April 2020. 

Staff receive regular weather forecasts designed to give information about road surface temperatures and the likelihood of ice. This is monitored in conjunction with a computerised ice detection system, cameras and the council's weather stations at Blackstone Edge and Middleton. They also use automatic gritting technology, which spreads exactly the amount of grit salt required so drivers can concentrate solely on the road.

Salt being loaded onto a gritting lorry.  

'A team of drivers ready to take to the road'

Residents are being advised to make sure they are ready to deal with icy and wet conditions, as well as the simple things they can do to keep warm, healthy and safe during winter. This includes making sure vehicles are ready for severe weather, that you have the right equipment to stay safe, and know how to drive in extreme weather conditions. Residents should also look out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours who may need extra help over the winter months.

Anyone who lives or has a business in an area which is prone to flooding can register with the Environment Agency for advance warnings of any flood danger.

Councillor Neil Emmott with a shovelful of salt.

Councillor Neil Emmott, cabinet member for the environment, said:

"We are well prepared for winter with a team of drivers ready to take to the road when needed and a good stock of salt.  Almost 200 miles of roads are salted during one round of complete gritting – 50% of the total road network in the borough, and there are up to 28 drivers on standby. Our gritters have state of the art technology and we do everything we can to keep the borough moving, often in extremely tough conditions. I urge everyone to remember that gritting is not guaranteed to always keep snow off every road. As each gritting run can take more than 2 hours, please be aware that roads may be gritted after the circuit starts. It is also very important to make sure you drive to the road conditions at all times and slow down."

When snow or icy conditions are forecast, gritting teams carry out precautionary gritting and snow clearing, with ploughs fitted to all vehicles when necessary. The council also has over 500 salt bins around the borough in areas where particularly difficult conditions exist.

Tips for driving in extreme weather

  • Allow extra time for your journey.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel.
  • Check your battery is good.
  • Check your tyres are suitable.
  • Carry a shovel in your boot.
  • Carry a bit of rock salt (available from builder's merchants).
  • Don't over-rev the engine or your wheels will spin.
  • Use as high a gear as possible to improve grip.
  • Build your speed up slowly on hills.
  • Always brake gently and in plenty of time.
  • Don't block junctions or roundabouts.
  • Keep more distance than usual from the car in front.
  • Give cyclists more space.
  • Keep a look out for pedestrians - particularly at zebra crossings, pelican crossings and outside schools.
  • Push broken down vehicles off the carriageway - abandoned cars are one of the main obstacles which get in the way of snow ploughs.
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