Northamptonshire’s fleet of gritters will be deployed on the roads this week to prepare for winter after the Met Office forecast a cold snap. Precautionary gritting routes are underway as a sharp decline in temperature is expected across the county towards the end of October.
West Northamptonshire Council and North Northamptonshire Council’s highways provider, Kier, is set to grit over 1,100 miles of road network in West Northamptonshire – the equivalent of driving from here to Venice as well as 821 miles in North Northamptonshire. West Northamptonshire has a stockpile of over 5,500 tonnes of salt ready to use on public roads and foot paths, and more than 880 grit bins have been filled.
North Northamptonshire Council added it has 4,000 tonnes of salt with 651 grit bins ready for use. The Met Office reports have shown that due to an El Niño weather pattern, a term for when the sea surface temperature warms every few years, the UK is headed for greater snowfall this winter – with the first of the UK’s snowfall predicted for this week in Scotland.
While the peak is expected around December, it means the UK is headed for greater snowfall this winter. For snow to fall there must be cold air and plenty of moisture. Previous El Niño winter for the UK have seen cold and dry weather leading to this snow.
The fleet of West Northamptonshire gritters will all have names this year, thanks to the primary school pupils, meaning trucks named ‘Pretty Gritty’, ‘RoadZipper’ and ‘Gritzilla’ will be among those helping to keep the roads safe this winter. North Northamptonshire will see the trucks ‘Sir Grit A lot’, ‘Grumpy Gritter’ and ‘Wicky Gritty’ out and about.
Cllr Phil Larratt, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “By working together with Kier, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure that our roads are kept safe for our communities as we enter the winter months – and prepare for the cold snap ahead. Our 12-strong fleet of gritters are set to head out on the network from this weekend when required.
“As the cold weather approaches, this can cause a major impact on our roads and an increase in road defects and potholes. We will continue to work with Kier to ensure these are resolved as quickly as possible, and advise all residents to report any road defects via our website with location details and photos so we can resolve this.”
Cllr Matt Binley, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive Member for Highways, Travel and Assets, said: “Preparing for winter is an all-year-round task and requires extensive analysis of previous weather conditions to make informed decisions about priority gritting routes. We’re working hard to ensure minimal disruption to road-users throughout the autumn/winter period.
“After considerable preparation, we are now in a strong position to grit the roads as soon as forecasts predict temperatures to drop.” John Coombes, general manager at Kier Transportation, added: “We are proactively planning for the predicted weather conditions this winter. Our crews are on standby 24/7 during the winter months, as we work to keep road conditions safe and quickly respond to any changing weather conditions.
“We will be mobilising our gritting fleet, which have all been named by local primary school pupils, in trial routes [last] weekend.” To find out more about the precautionary and adverse gritting routes and other useful winter service information please visit: https://www.westnorthants.gov.uk/roads-and-paths-maintenance/gritting-west-northamptonshire.