Cambridgeshire's 26 strong fleet of gritters are due to return ready for the winter as the County Council gears up for its annual campaign to help people stay safe in icy weather.
As the County Council gets ready for winter it is also asking other road users to make sure they are prepared too.
On Tuesday, 25 October, 26 gritters are set to arrive at the Council's four highway depots across the county. The Council has a seven year contract with ECON who supply the authority with brand new gritters each year from October through to April. This saves the Council Â£117k each year in maintenance costs.
Once they have arrived the gritters, along with two quad bikes, will be ready to hit the county's roads day or night. Each gritter is able to carry between 8 and 14 tonnes of salt and grit more than 40 miles of road. A salt dome is located in each highway depot, stocking a combined total of 10,000 tonnes of salt. This will be replenished throughout the winter period to ensure Cambridgeshire is well prepared for freezing conditions.
There is also an army of more than 70 volunteers across Cambridgeshire from local communities and Parish Councils to help treat their local area when temperatures drop to freezing and below. Their great work and effort helps residents stay safe in their communities during the winter.
This year the routes our gritters will travel along have been revised to reflect the challenging financial pressures facing the Council, as agreed in the budget last year.
The gritting routes have been carefully designed to ensure all strategic routes are treated, as well as all major roads to places such as hospitals and schools. (Roads such as A14, M11, A47, A1 and A428 are gritted by Highways England). The new routes cover over 1,000 miles of the county's roads and can be viewed here: www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/wintergritting
Cambridgeshire sees differing temperatures and weather conditions across the county, which is why the Council this year has split the county into three sections; North/East, South/West, and City. Gritting will then be tailored to meet the local needs and based on the conditions in these three areas, not as the county as a whole. Therefore, if it's cold in the North/East area but not in the South/West and City areas, the Council will only grit the North/East - acting more efficiently and reducing costs.
Throughout the winter, daily updates and useful advice will be shared using the hashtag #grittertwitter via the Council's Facebook and Twitter accounts, including the popular gritting updates informing people when our gritters are needed on the road network.
Richard Lumley, Head of Highways for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "We have geared up for winter and we want to remind all its residents and businesses to also be prepared. Ensure you know your gritted route to work in the event that it snows, ensure your vehicle is fit for driving in the winter conditions, and ensure you adapt your driving style to the conditions of the road. Even a treated road can be icy and this year there will be some roads that will not be treated, though they may have been in previous years. We would also like to thank all our community volunteers who help treat their local paths. During the cold winter months we would also encourage people to look after the elderly and vulnerable in particular and see how they can help their local community generally in the event of severe weather.
For help with preparing for winter, tips and useful information can be found here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/get-ready-for-winter/communities/snow