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Wales Online
Wales Online
Neil Shaw

Gritters to be deployed as snow and ice is forecast this weekend

National Highways’ gritters will be back out on the roads in England in the coming days with a period of cold weather due. The service is reminding motorists to give gritters plenty of space and time on the road after revealing one was hit by another vehicle while out salt spreading earlier this winter.

Met Office forecasters are predicting a change to cooler conditions this weekend. Showers from the north could fall as snow over the high ground in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland later in the weekend, with a wintry mix of rain, hail, sleet and snow possible at the start of next week, especially over high ground.

Ice is likely to be an ongoing hazard for most from Sunday onwards. Darren Clark, Severe Weather Resilience Manager, at National Highways said: “We would ask all road users to take extra care when driving when our gritters are out on our road.

“Whilst gritters travel up to 50mph when spreading road users need to be aware of the road and traffic ahead of them. We have had an incident this winter where the rear of a gritter was hit. We ask all road users to give our staff time and space to do their job safely, and if you see our vehicles indicating to change lanes please do what you can to safely help us to do this.”

Darren Clark said: “Not all roads will need treating on any given day. Gritters may need to go out in some regions if road temperatures fall below +1 degrees C, and if there is a risk of frost or ice forming, but not in other areas if conditions are not as cold.

“National Highways is committed to treating every road which needs to be treated - whenever it is needed. We are armed with the latest technology, forecasting intelligence and years of experience to help us make informed decisions about where and when we need to spread salt to help keep road users safe in even the most adverse weather conditions.

“For road users we suggest always check the weather forecasts, plan your journey, allowing more time for travel in wintry conditions, and carry out regular vehicle checks such as your coolant and tyre pressures.”

National Highways recently completed the assembly of its new £44m two-year investment in a fleet of 252 Volvo gritter vehicles, some of which carried out winter operations last year, and all of which are involved in salt spreading this season. The investment now means the organisation has around 530 gritter vehicles available this winter.

Vehicles in the winter gritting fleet can carry up to around 12,000 kg of salt, or 8,400 kg of salt and 3,600 litres of brine at any one time. The Volvo gritting vehicles can spread up to 50mph, encouraging traffic to keep moving more effectively on the roads even when they are being treated. When not treating they can travel up to 56mph.

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