VolkerHighways’ Bath and North East Somerset highways term maintenance contract is beginning to prepare for winter by taking its nine gritters out of summer storage to commence dry runs for the season.
VolkerHighways maintains 1,102km of highway for Bath and North East Somerset Council and each gritting run sees nine gritting vehicles deployed to prioritised highways, including A roads, B roads, bus routes and roads which provide access to schools and hospitals.
On average, 58 gritting runs are carried out and 2,639 tonnes of salt used in the area each year, to prevent ice forming on road surfaces. Already, more than 1,200 tonnes of salt have been procured and stored at our Clutton depot for this coming winter.
A few weeks ago, the team took its nine gritters out of summer storage, so they could carry out their first dry run ahead of winter, enabling the team to get to know their specific routes and refresh their knowledge of driving the gritters.
Since last spring, the gritters have been tucked away in their new sheds, which were installed following the re-development of the depot last year. The sheds provide covered protection for the entire nine gritter fleet, helping to keep them in good condition.
Last year, the team carried out 49 gritting runs, covering 12,936 miles of highway, and using 1,859 tonnes of salt.
Charlie Cox, operations manager on the contract, said: “As the winter is fast approaching, it was important for the gritting team to get into their fleet to learn their individual routes. This enables the team to find the most efficient route and resolve any queries before any bad weather arrives.”
Next year, a 1,000-tonne storage facility is due in Keynsham, as part of the new Keynsham Recycling Hub. This will increase salt capacity to 2,300 tonnes and limit the need to replenish stock mid-winter.
Councillor David Wood, cabinet member for neighbourhood services at Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “Keeping our road network safe throughout winter is a priority for us and we’ve already taken steps to make sure we have what we need. We carry out an average of 58 gritting runs on key routes each year and a lot of planning and preparation takes place to make sure we can have the biggest impact with the resources we have.”
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