The East Riding of Yorkshire Council Leader's column with Stephen Parnaby OBE
IT's that time of year again when the temperatures are dropping and we all keep an extra eye on the weather bulletins when we have journeys to make.
To coin a phrase from a certain TV programme, winter is coming and at East Riding of Yorkshire Council our staff are as geared up as ever to deal with whatever the weather throws at us.
Keeping the East Riding’s hundreds of miles of roads clear during the winter months is a huge task but every year our dedicated team steps up to the mark.
You may be surprised to read that preparing for the freezing weather is actually a year-round operation as gritting lorries and drivers have to be primed and ready for when the ice and snow arrives, with test runs undertaken and vehicles regularly maintained and checked.
This year the council has invested in three new gritting vehicles for its 21-strong fleet and four new loading shovels.
It’s not just about the machinery though.
The council has a team of 60 drivers on call, ready to respond day or night to help keep our roads safe and traffic moving.
We’ve been lucky enough to have some mild winters in recent years but our winter team still needs to be prepared for the worst – and with the East Riding being such a huge area, you can imagine the scale of the challenge.
Salting the precautionary network alone involves the treatment of 800 miles of roads and when snow and ice are likely to be present after midday, covering the secondary network as well includes an extra 300 miles of roads as well as some of the main footpaths.
Here are some more statistics for you: the average amount of salt spread through the winter is 10,000 tonnes and is usually between 120 and 320 tonnes per call-out.
We try to treat roads between 7pm and 11pm to avoid peak traffic times but have to be mindful of the fact that salt doesn’t work as well once temperatures drop below -7C.
You can do your bit to help too.
In wintry weather, there have been times when spreaders and emergency vehicles have not been able to get past badly parked cars on smaller streets and side roads on treatment routes so please be considerate and think whether you have left room for such vehicles to pass.
You can see which roads are treated on our precautionary and secondary networks at www.eastriding.gov.uk/winter
Let’s hope we have another mild winter but, if not, our committed winter team will be ready to spring into action.