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New grit

October 22, 2019 7:31 AM

Gritrs24 new gritters will be taking to the roads of Wiltshire this winter.

Wiltshire Council has leased the fleet ready to tackle any fresh 'Beast from the East' or any other bits of weather with stupid names..

As well as up-to-date technology, the fleet is fitted with low emission engines.

The gritters will be stationed in depots across the county.

The gritters will be used on Wiltshire's primary network of A and B roads, covering 726 miles and spreading approximately 150 tonnes of salt each time they are sent out.

In severe or prolonged cold weather, the network can be increased by treating secondary routes.

Wiltshire Council has more than 11,000 tonnes of salt in stock at six storage sites.

There are also weather stations to produce forecasts to ensure gritters are sent out at the right time.

A team of engineers monitor the weather 24/7 during the season, supported by highways staff, and 24 drivers are on standby to be called into action.

To mark the roll out of the new fleet, the gritters all came together for a special photoshoot.

Mick Buckler, Divisional Manager at Ringway Wiltshire said: ""Ringway is delighted that Wiltshire Council has chosen to make such a positive investment in a new gritter fleet. This enables us, as contracting partner to the council, to continue to deliver an excellent winter service for the residents and communities of Wiltshire; keeping roads clear and safe and the travelling public moving effectively on major routes."

Econ Engineering Sales Director Andrew Lupton said: "Econ has worked in partnership with Wiltshire Council for many years to ensure that the county's road network is equipped with the most effective winter maintenance vehicles possible.

"The council shares our belief in the importance of technology and innovation in keeping winter roads safe and has taken great care to specify that their 24 Econ vehicles are fitted with the most up-to-date technology available. High-tech features such as touchscreen controllers will help to maximise the vehicles' efficiency and safety, while low emissions chassis minimise environmental impact."

During winter, people can get updates on both the weather and road conditions on Twitter by following @WiltshireWinter

  • At the end of every winter, Wiltshire Council amends and tests gritting routes.
  • The council develops close working arrangements with parishes and other agencies.
  • Parish and town councils can also apply for equipment and materials; those registered will be collecting their supplies in November. In addition, salt is supplied to many schools to maintain the car parks and keep their facilities open.
  • During severe weather, local farmers also have an important role to play, with many clearing snow in their local areas when required.
  • The salt used on our roads is mined in Cheshire.
  • 1,600 salt bins are being filled for use on local, lightly used roads and pavements. Parish and town councils which have requested them have also been given one tonne bags of rock salt for community use.
  • Six tractors are available to assist in winter maintenance.
  • Last winter the gritters went out 40 times.
  • 6,000 tonnes of salt was spread on Wiltshire's roads last season (2018/19).