Gritters out in force on Devon’s roads

PUBLISHED: 13:34 12 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:14 12 January 2017

Archant

Devon’s fleet of gritters are out on the county’s precautionary salting network today (Thursday, January 12).

More than 2,000 miles of the county’s roads will be treated multiple times by Devon County Council (DCC).

Persistent rain, combined with the forecast of plummeting temperatures and potential wintry showers and snow later on this afternoon, is making for challenging conditions for the gritting teams.

Primary salting routes, on Devon’s busier roads, are being treated as a priority and secondary routes will be salted from around 2pm in anticipation of the forecast conditions.

Road surface temperatures are likely to fall below freezing across the county from early this evening, with temperatures dropping below -3 overnight, and people are being urged to take extra care on their journey home.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management, said: “Our gritting teams are going to be busy working around the clock on our precautionary salting network.

“They’re facing a cocktail of weather with persistent rain making conditions difficult for our gritters.

“As some of the salt may be washed away, we are erring on the side of caution and carrying out several treatments on our gritting network over the coming hours.

“We’re also working with our partner agencies to monitor vulnerable locations in the county and we’re prepared to escalate our plans should we need.

“The combination of wet conditions and freezing temperatures will mean that there is a serious risk of ice this evening and tomorrow morning, even on treated roads.

“Everyone should be prepared for the possibility of waking up to icy conditions and snow, and we would advise people to avoid travelling overnight and to take extra care tomorrow.”

As skies clear this evening there is also potential for widespread ice to form overnight and tomorrow morning, particularly on untreated surfaces. Main salting routes will be treated again later this afternoon, with further treatments overnight.

The county council is reminding people of the following advice:

• Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures

• Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming

• Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed

• Drive with care and according to the conditions

• If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell

• Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over

• Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions and ensure you are stocked with food and medications.

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