Lincolnshire County Council has pledged to keep on gritting, but warns it cannot do any more than it currently is, with over half of its current salt stocks now used already.Gritting teams have almost used as much salt so far this year as they did for the whole of the 2007/08 winter.
Despite starting the winter period with 31,600 tonnes – 8,000 more than usual – the authority has already used 57% of this, following days and nights of continuous treatment. This means it had just 13,600 tonnes left as of Friday morning. With the next shipment of 10,000 tonnes due to arrive around early to mid-January, gritting teams will be making use of technology which measures whether any salt is still on the surface from their previous run, so it can adjust the new spread rate accordingly, avoiding using surplus grit.
Whilst Highways insist they will still cover their usual 3,008km (1,869 miles) of Lincolnshire’s main routes, including all A and B-roads, it says drivers need to take even greater care, and self-help on side-streets and pavements is even more crucial.
Councillor William Webb, Executive Member for Highways and Transport, said:
“We’ll keep on gritting whenever it’s needed – be that 1pm on Christmas Day or Midnight on New Year’s Eve – whilst ensuring that appropriate quantities are being spread and salt isn’t wasted. We greatly value the assistance of farmers, contractors and even private individuals in supporting our tireless efforts to ensure safety for motorists and pedestrians.
“This incredible weather has seen our teams needing to spread considerable quantities of salt across our huge county, successfully keeping our main roads safe and open, and I applaud them for that. Through good forward-planning, we had 31,000 tonnes of salt in stock at the start of the winter, compared with the usual 23,000 tonnes, helping us to carry out this first-class service.
“However, with very little rise in temperatures and further snow falling, we have used significantly more salt than in previous years. This has been due to the high number of continuous salting days and nights, the additional pavement gritting and the extra re-filling of grit bins.”
At this stage last year, the county council had made 15 runs and used 3,200 tonnes of salt, but so far this year has made 61 runs and used 18,000 tonnes.