Environment

VideoDevon’s winter teams prepared

Photo of Devon Highways staff at a gritting depot

Posted on: 17 December 2019

Devon County Council’s winter service teams are prepared and ready if they are called into action over the Christmas holidays and throughout the rest of the winter season.

The authority has upgraded six gritters to replace older vehicles in its winter fleet of 37 frontline gritters.

So far this winter, around 3,000 tonnes of salt have been used on Devon’s roads. The Council starts the winter season with around 24,000 tonnes of salt in its depots.

Photo of Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “Our gritter drivers have a thankless task, often driving in treacherous conditions to ensure that our road network is as safe as possible to keep Devon moving. It’s important that we regularly upgrade our vehicles, particularly the 37 frontline gritters, to ensure that the drivers have the best equipment available to them.

“We’ve had a fairly mild start to this winter, but we’ve seen in previous years how quickly that can change. It’s impossible for our teams to salt all 8,000 miles of our roads in Devon, but they do treat around 2,000 miles of Devon’s main roads that make up the primary and secondary salting network. So despite all of the work that is done, we still rely on people taking extra care when out in challenging winter conditions.”

In an average winter, around 13,000 tonnes of salt are used to treat Devon’s roads. However, last winter saw more than 9,600 tonnes used on Devon’s roads – covering a distance of over 71,500 miles across the county.

More than 3,500 grit bins across Devon are available to support self-help in parts of the network that are not treated, but must only be used on the public highway. Empty grit bins can be reported via the Council’s “Report It” webpages.

The County Council has a network of 35 roadside ice detectors at strategic locations in Devon. By monitoring conditions such as road surface temperatures, the data from these sites is used to decide the optimal time to send gritters out on their routes.

The County Council is also supported by 325 volunteer snow wardens in towns and parishes throughout Devon, who are part of the Council’s winter self-help scheme. They select their priority routes to ensure they’re treated in the event of prolonged severe weather.

You can find out more about Devon’s snow warden scheme on our communities webpages or contact Parish Council representatives who can liaise with their local Neighbourhood Highway Officer.

More information and winter travel advice from Devon County Council is available here or for updates on Twitter follow @DevonAlert

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