Suffolk Highways are well-prepared to keep the county’s roads clear of ice and snow over the coming winter months.
The county’s highways depots have once again been filled with more than 24,000 tonnes of salt. These stocks will remain topped up throughout the winter period, to ensure we are prepared for any prolonged periods of severe weather. Suffolk has eight highway depots spread across strategic locations in the region, in Ipswich, Brome, Halesworth, Lowestoft, Melton, Rougham, Depden and Mildenhall.
Suffolk Highways have 38 gritters and 3 mini-gritters which treat more than 1,200 miles of Suffolk’s road network in under two and a half hours. During harsh conditions these gritters can be deployed to treat a further 850 miles of the network. Suffolk Highways also have around 100 approved winter service drivers supporting this service.
Highly skilled Highways staff continuously monitor conditions from six weather stations across the county and have access to a further five in neighbouring counties. This allows Suffolk highways to plan for winter weather and make the crucial decisions over when it is necessary to salt.
When ice or snow is forecast, salt is used to treat all A and B roads and roads which provide access to 24-hour fire stations, Accident and Emergency hospitals and main bus and rail stations. Details of the Council’s gritting routes can be viewed at www.suffolk.gov.uk/gritting.
Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Cllr James Finch said: “Our drivers have undertaken training so they are familiar with their routes and we have successfully completed our first gritting runs of the winter season. The new mini–gritters we have this year will allow us to treat some of the narrower urban roads in the county, where full size gritters sometimes have problems getting through when there are parked cars.
“Suffolk Highways are stocking 1100 grit bins and 1300 grit heaps across the county. Last year we treated the county’s A and B Roads 60 times, and used just over 9,000 tonnes of salt. We are therefore confident that we have plenty of salt in our depots to ensure that we are ready for whatever the winter may bring.
“During the summer we carried out a proactive surface dressing treatment to 2.5million square metres of the highway network which has reinforced the road surface to stand up to the severe weather inflicted in winter months, and prevent potholes and cracks appearing. One of the benefits of this treatment is that it prevents water getting into the underlying road structure, which can be one of the major causes of road deterioration during the winter period.
“If you spot any issues on the roads during the winter months such as faulty streetlights, potholes, or grit bins which need re-filling, we urge you to report these to us. We rely on reports from the public to put us in the best possible position to be able to respond quickly and effectively to any highways issues.
“I would also urge drivers to make sure your vehicle is prepared for the frosty and icy conditions during the winter months, with particular attention to the condition and pressure of your tyres. Drive with extra care and always allow more time for your journey.”