Essex road Gritters will continue to battle sub-zero conditions
ESSEX S winter gritting service will continue working to keep roads clear this Christmas as sub zero temperatures continue to bite across the county. The winter gritters have spread salt on roads measuring the equivalent of five times around the world in
ESSEX'S winter gritting service will continue working to keep roads clear this Christmas as sub zero temperatures continue to bite across the county.
The winter gritters have spread salt on roads measuring the equivalent of five times around the world in the past six days and nights.
More than 7000 tonnes of salt have been distributed on the county's roads by over 150 frontline staff and 65 gritters, from six depots, during 19 county-wide salt runs and dozens of extra local treatments, clocking up the equivalent of over 41,000 miles of roads and pavements, since temperatures fell below zero last week.
Town centres have been busier than at other times of the year in the last week before Christmas and have been treated several times with district and borough councils treating car parks and farmers removing snow from more isolated routes.
Meanwhile, Essex County Council's unique, dedicated A12 Patrols have been reducing the impact of accidents on Essex's busiest road.
They have attended over a dozen incidents with an average response time of just eight minutes, helping to keep the A12 flowing freely and reducing the impact of accidents and broken down vehicles.
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Essex's new winter and travel twitter service (www.twitter.com/Essex_travel) is now being followed by more than a hundred organisations and residents providing up to the minute information on the gritting service and traffic and travel updates.
This service is ideal for businesses such as taxis and distribution companies who can get up to the minute advice on conditions which affect their operation and to keep them moving in the winter months.
Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, Councillor Norman Hume, said: "I am pleased with how well prepared our dedicated winter service has been for the current conditions and how well it has been operating since the icy conditions arrived in Essex nearly a week ago.
"We have been acutely aware of how busy our town centres and shopping areas have been in the run up to Christmas and our crews have been gritting in those areas affected to ensure that residents are able to prepare for the festive period.
"With temperatures that go significantly below zero, ice reforms very easily requiring several salt runs per day but we also have to take very careful decisions about avoiding peak time traffic or periods of rainfall where salt would just be washed away.
"We are also keeping our residents updated on the situation through our new twitter service which provides live updates on traffic and travel as well as roadside weather conditions, enabling them to make informed decisions about travelling over the Christmas break.
"I'd ask residents to take extreme care in these icy conditions over Christmas and to try to avoid unnecessary journeys wherever possible. I'd like to assure them that we are doing everything we can on the roads to ensure their festive period is disrupted as little as possible."
For live traffic and travel updates residents can sign up to the Essex Travel Twitter feed or they can visit www.essex.gov.uk/traffic. Or they can listen to the latest information from their local radio stations which also receive updates from the ECC Traffic Control Centre.
If they do decide to go out then residents are advised they should drive with extreme caution. Public transport users are advised to continue checking with their transport provider or the Essex Traffic Control centre (0845 600 0110) to see if their service is operating.