Gritters on high alert

PUBLISHED: 15:09 21 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:37 31 May 2010

Gritters on high alert

Gritters on high alert

A COLD snap predicted on the weekend has meant Essex County Council s winter gritter teams are on high alert. The gritters are preparing to salt the primary Essex highway network with temperatures expected to reach minus 2 degrees. A few sleet showers ar

A COLD snap predicted on the weekend has meant Essex County Council's winter gritter teams are on high alert.

The gritters are preparing to salt the primary Essex highway network with temperatures expected to reach minus 2 degrees.

A few sleet showers are also possible in the north of the county and 65 gritting lorries and 80 plus personnel will be on round-the-clock standby, and ready to grit the roads and pavements of Essex as soon as a forecast predicts ice is imminent.

The latest technological advances are being used including Icecast predictive technology. This relies on live data from six weather stations around the county, as well as roadside sensors and information from other authorities which are analysed by weather company Meteo Group who produce real-time data and forecasts based on this information.

In addition, all Essex's gritters are fitted with GPS (global positioning) technology to help track vehicle movements and plan deployment efficiently to the roads which most need treating. In normal winter conditions 1890 miles of major roads will be salted, one of the biggest road networks in the country.

The service is extended during severe winter weather with extra staff and lorries deployed in those circumstances. Local area offices with knowledge of local requirements take over deployment. Roads are treated in their order of importance and usage. Farmers and other highway contractors will also be called upon to help out with snow clearance in prolonged snow conditions.

Cabinet member for highways and transportation, Cllr Norman Hume, said: "Winter conditions present the biggest challenge of the year for motorists and ensuring they can drive as safely as possible is a very high priority.

"Essex County Council is better prepared than ever for what the winter may bring with dozens of gritters on standby using the latest technology ready to respond.

"We have over 4000 miles of road in Essex and in wintry conditions no guarantee can ever be given that a road will be completely free from ice, so I would urge people to drive with the utmost care and help us to keep Essex's road network running.

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