Winter ready: Nottinghamshire’s gritters prepare

Winter ready: Nottinghamshire’s gritters prepare to hit the road – Following the harsh conditions of last year, Nottinghamshire County Council is ready and geared up to cope with the winter weather.

Via East Midlands, which manages the County’s highways network on behalf of the County Council, will carry out the winter maintenance operations based at four of the Council’s highways depots including Gamston, Nottingham.

Gritting teams are officially on low-risk standby from October, with salt barns already well-stocked. In fact the county has 10,000 tonnes more salt stockpiled than official government recommendations, putting Nottinghamshire in an excellent position should it face winter conditions similar or even worse than last year.

Overall, the council has the capacity to store around 20,000 tonnes of salt – some 18,000 tonnes of it under cover. 

Councillor John Cottee, County Council Committee Chairman for Community and Place, said: “Winter maintenance is a high priority for us, so we plan for it all year round so we are in a strong position and ready for whatever winter throws at us. 

“Last year felt like a particularly long, harsh winter, especially with the infamous Beast from the East making its full force felt. Our gritting crews were out in very tough conditions and were certainly in high demand. They did a sterling job working around the clock keeping the county moving.”

With 117 main route runs, as well as 23 severe weather runs, crews more than doubled the previous season’s tally of 60 runs, clocking up a staggering 142,5000 more kilometres than last winter (see below for more stats*).

“There’s no doubt that last year’s winter also took its toll on roads throughout the county which meant that our highways team had to repair 95,000 potholes between January and August – nearly twice as many over the same time period as the previous year”, added Coun Cottee.

Kevin Heathcote, team manager at Via East Midlands, said: “October signals the start of our gritting teams going on low-risk standby, so we are now ready to treat our gritting routes as and when it’s needed with our team of dedicated drivers.

“Last winter was really challenging for us and we spent a lot of time out on our routes. All our staff worked remarkably hard doing their best to keep the roads clear.

“When bad weather does occur, we would encourage road users in the county to travel carefully. We have a fleet of gritters, but can’t be everywhere in the county at once. 

“Whilst gritting helps to keep the roads clear, in very cold conditions, freezing rain or heavy snow, ice and snow can still form and accumulate on the road making for potentially treacherous conditions.”

All 30 gritting lorries in the county’s fleet are all equipped with a CCTV system, to help monitor road surface conditions as well as being tracked by GPS technology.

As well as Gamston, the gritters operate from depots countywide in Markham Moor, Newark and Bilsthorpe.

Checking and refilling of the 1,300 roadside grit bins has already begun and deliveries of salt to parish councils are planned for November.
For more information about gritting routes, winter driving advice and other information visit: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/winter. For weather alerts and information, you can also follow the County Council on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nottscc 

*Our teams also kept the county on the move by: 
• Clocking up almost 300,000 kms in total
• Equivalent to making 10 return trips to the South Pole or 7.5 laps around the world or nearly a one-way trip to the moon
• Spending more than 400 hours out on the roads, often during the early hours, equivalent to more than 16 days and nights
• Deploying 25,000 tonnes of salt compared to last year’s tally of almost 12,000 tonnes
• Salting routes a gruelling 15 times within the week the infamous ‘Beast from the East’ struck. 
• The first run of the season was on Sunday 5 November 2017. The last run was Thursday 5 April 2018 
• Gritting activity took place on 89 day/nights across this five month period.