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Thursday 14 January 2016

Gritting teams swing into action to deal with cold snap


Cheshire East Council’s highways team is deploying gritters across all main routes, as the borough is hit by the first significant cold snap of winter.

Following recent heavy rain, plummeting temperatures over the next week are set to increase the risk of ice on our roads.

Snow is also forecast on higher ground in the east of the borough towards the end of the week.

The team’s fleet of 19 vehicles is responding with nightly gritting of 1,090km of primary roads. They will be in action every night until at least early next week.

Precautionary gritting is carried out to stop ice forming on main routes, while snow is dealt with using specialist equipment such as snow blowers and snow ploughs.

Meanwhile, all-terrain quad bikes with attachable snowploughs and towable gritters are deployed on footways and roads with restricted access.

The Council’s winter maintenance season began in October but the mild and wet weather has meant the gritters have rarely been needed. Gritting teams were only deployed twice in the whole of December – compared to a monthly average of 15 trips.

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader for Cheshire East Council and Cabinet member in charge of highways, said: “This week is winter as we expect it to be. December, with persistent wet and mild weather, was exceptional.

“For the gritters to have been deployed less than a handful of times by Christmas was very unusual. Instead, our highways teams had issues such as heavy rain and flooding to contend with.

“Because of all the rain we have had recently, which is still pouring off open land and hillsides and onto our roads, there is a real risk of ice over the next few days as this surface water freezes.

“Our gritting teams will do their job and reduce the risk of roads icing, but we still ask residents to drive with extra care during these difficult conditions. Put safety first to ensure an accident free journey home.”

Visit the Highways and Roads page on the council website to track gritting vehicles as they treat the Borough’s roads.

Gritting routes, salt bin information and tips for travelling during winter can also be found on the council website.

Gritting decisions will also be communicated on Twitter @CECHighways.

Cheshire East highways’ team can be contacted by calling 0300 123 5020.

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