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Norfolk's gritters ready for action this winter

31 October 2019

An early cold snap has seen Norfolk’s gritters make their first run of the season this week. Crews were out on roads in the west of the county on Monday, 28 October, treating roads with the usual specially formulated salt designed to prevent ice forming on the road surface.

Preparations for keeping Norfolk moving this winter are in place with around 16,000 tonnes of salt stocked in the county. This will be replenished as needed during the winter through a long-term contract the council has with its supplier Compass Minerals.

More than a third of Norfolk’s roads are on the council’s 49 regular gritting routes, including all A and B-class roads and some C-class roads. Each full run covering 2,200 miles of road takes around three hours to complete. The A11 and A47 are gritted by Highways England.

People can check which roads are on the council’s gritting routes for the 2019/20 season on the map at www.norfolk.gov.uk/gritting. On the same map people can find the locations of around 1,900 grit bins in the county that are filled by the County Council and which people can use on public pavements, cycle paths and roads.

Cllr Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “The recent move of the day to day highway maintenance operations, including gritting, to Norse Highways, will see some efficiency savings made, but for Norfolk’s roads this winter it will be business as usual. The fleet of gritter trucks and the dedicated crews are prepped and ready to grit roads and clear any snow as and when needed.

“I’d urge everyone to take care when roads are cold and wet over the coming months – it’s very important to always drive to arrive, so please do make sure you drive to the road conditions at all times.”

Every year when the weather gets cold, Norfolk County Council launches its Norfolk Winter information-sharing campaign, designed to help people in the county cope during the colder months. Regular gritting updates and other useful advice are posted on Norfolk County Council's social media channels, using the #NorfolkWinter hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.

People are being asked to help each other by getting behind the Norfolk Winter campaign and sharing any information that may help keep people in the county happy, healthy and safe when the weather is cold, icy or snowy. There is also lots of useful information at www.norfolk.gov.uk/norfolkwinter.

The salt used to treat roads in Norfolk works by reducing the freezing point of water on the surface. However, even when roads are treated there is no guarantee they will be completely clear of ice or snow. For example, in severe cold weather (below approximately minus seven degrees celsius) even salt will not prevent the roads from icing over.

Winter gritting is now being carried out on the County Council’s behalf by Norse Highways, although decisions on mobilising crews are continuing to be taken by the County Council.

For more information about gritting in Norfolk, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/gritting.

Last winter’s figures were much lower than the year before that, which saw the Beast from the East hit the county. Last year, 2018/19:

  • Norfolk County Council gritters completed 52 gritting runs, compared to 113 the previous year
  • 13,600 tonnes of salt was spread on the county’s roads, nearly half the previous year’s 25,000 tonnes

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