Essex gritting fleet called into action after first snowfall
FOLLOWING the first snowfall across the county today (Wednesday), Essex County Council (ECC) has said their fleet of gritters is working around the clock to keep roads clear. Cabinet member for highways and transportation, Cllr Norman Hume, said: Deliver
FOLLOWING the first snowfall across the county today (Wednesday), Essex County Council (ECC) has said their fleet of gritters is working around the clock to keep roads clear.
Cabinet member for highways and transportation, Cllr Norman Hume, said: "Delivering better roads is a top priority for ECC and that includes ensuring our major routes are kept moving this winter, whatever the weather throws at us.
"Essex has never run out of salt for this massive job and we are just as well prepared this year with our dedicated winter service team working around the clock to keep us moving.
"I would emphasise that no road should ever be treated as safe, even if it has been gritted and all road users have to take responsibility for ensuring they are prepared for all conditions and listen to the latest information from our traffic control centre via their local radio station."
Last year the county council's 65 gritter lorries used 20,000 tonnes of rock salt to keep nearly 2000 miles of major roads moving freely.
Despite facing the worst winter in 18 years, Essex coped well and saw out a national salt shortage managing to maintain sufficient supplies to continue treating all priority routes.
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Since then, Essex has been working with its contractors to ensure that the county remains well stocked with road salt via two different suppliers in the North of England.
Essex's winter gritting service is on 24-hour standby from November to April every year and in arrangement with other eastern regional authorities uses specialist weather forecasters to predict the formation of frost or ice on the road surface.
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. A typical winter would usually use around 14,000 tonnes of rock salt.
In normal winter conditions 1800 miles of major roads will be treated which is approximately 41 per cent of the county road network, one of the biggest winter networks in the country. These roads include all 'A' and 'B' roads, access to routes for emergency services and routes used by regular bus services (roads that carry four or more buses per day, five days a week).