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Gritters hit the road as temperatures fall

Gritters have hit Leicestershire's roads for the first time this autumn, as temperatures start to drop.

Picture of a gritter

On 27 October, gritters and drivers were out treating key routes to keep the county moving.

Crews have been out a further two times since then on Monday 28 October, and last night (Wednesday 5 November) spreading approximately 312 tonnes of rock salt across around 3900 miles of road to combat the drop-in temperature, and will continue to do so as required.

Keeping the county moving and motorists safe is our top priority every winter. Our gritting crews are now on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week – including Christmas and New Year – and they are ready to respond to the forecasts. 

We monitor the weather constantly and if freezing temperatures are forecast, our fleet of gritters are ready to go out at night while we are asleep, to treat major roads and key routes which equates to almost half of the county's road network.

Blake Pain, cabinet member for environment and transport

With the nights getting longer and temperatures dropping, the gritters will be needed more often and the council is prepared. 

The council has a fleet of 23 gritters available, three of which were recently replaced with new state of the art vehicles. The other twenty vehicles have also been fitted with the latest sat-nav technology, to ensure all routes are gritted correctly. 

This year, the council’s grit barns are stocked up with 18,000  tonnes of rock salt – ready to tackle snow and ice.

In addition to the gritters, there are also a number of snow wardens based in communities across the county who grit paths, as well as farmers who during deep snow, fit ploughs to their tractors and assist the council in clearing roads.

The authority is working with parish and town councils to train and encourage more people to sign-up to its Snow Warden Scheme to help keep the county moving during the winter. The county council also has a team of carers and health visitors who can reach their patients if there is prolonged heavy snowfall. 

Residents are also being encouraged to prepare themselves for the cold season by following a few simple steps:

  • Familiarise yourself with the gritting routes and keep up to date with local weather using the local radio or following the council on Twitter @LeicsCountyHall
  • Make sure you have your seasonal flu vaccination. Washing your hands will help avoid transmitting cold and flu viruses. Free vaccines are offered to people considered to be at risk of flu, more information can be found by visiting www.nhs.uk/staywell/
  • Keep your home warm. Set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed. The county council’s Warm Homes service helps vulnerable people to save hundreds of pounds on their fuel bills, for advice visit www.firstcontactplus.org.uk or call 0116 305 4286.

For more information on winter maintenance in Leicestershire, and for advice about winter driving and snow clearance of the paths outside your property, visit www.leicestershire.gov.uk/gritting or follow the council on Twitter @LeicsCountyHall

COUNTY COUNCIL GRITTING FACTS

  • A full gritting run comprising 17 different routes covers 47 per cent of the County’s road network (1,300 miles) and takes between four and five hours;
  • Footpaths are not gritted by the county council;
  • The nearly 800 grit bins across the county can be used by members of the public to treat public roads or footpaths – salt from these bins should not be used on private property;

Gritter drivers are on standby every night during the winter season and spread salt whenever there is a likelihood of frost, ice or snow affecting roads.

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