A TOTAL of 63 staff and 29 gritters will be on stand-by every night this winter to ensure 807 miles of main roads are treated in Roads Service’s Eastern Division, which includes North Down.
The announcement was made by Eastern Divisional roads manager Kevin Monaghan, who explained how Roads Service’s winter programme will work locally until next April.
Mr Monaghan said: “When ice or snow is forecast our salting teams have just three and a half hours to complete the massive logistical operation that can cost up to £14,000 each time it takes place.
“This year, during prolonged snow, all salt spreading machinery will be fitted with snow ploughs. Our efforts will remain the same, with the clearing of snow from motorways and the trunk roads, before moving to other main roads and the busiest urban link roads.
“In very deep snow we can deploy our snow blowers, the latest of which can shift 1,600 tonnes of snow an hour.
“The operation will continue until the road network is cleared, but even with all resources deployed, this will take time.”
Arrangements are also in place to call on contractors and farmers, to help clear blocked roads. Improved communication arrangements and priority secondary salting to rural schools that are most affected by wintery weather conditions have also been put in place.
For areas off the main salted network Roads Service will continue to provide self help salt bins and grit piles. These are available for local residents to use to help deal with snow and ice on pavements.
There is welcome news about the salting of busy town centre footways. Almost all councils are now working with Roads Service to help deliver this important service.
Information on salting and the latest road conditions is available at: http://www.TrafficwatchNI.com