It may technically be autumn, but Bury Council’s winter service team have already been out gritting on five nights as temperatures have dropped.
But the current cold snap is not unusual - the first grit run of last winter was around the same time (on 26 October) and the last was more than five months later on 10 April.
The winter service team is made up of five vehicles, 16 drivers and four duty officers. Throughout the season each driver is on standby for four nights, followed by 12 nights off. All drivers hold the Winter Service City and Guilds qualification.
In preparation for severe weather, Bury Council has a stock of 2,500 tonnes of Safecote treated salt which is stored at Bolton Council’s depot to improve opportunities for sharing resources should the need arise. Safecote salt is used because it is coated with molasses and sticks to the road surface better. It is also less corrosive.
There are 324 salt bins in place at known trouble spots across the borough, such as where there are sharp bends or steep inclines and where historically snow and ice have caused serious problems. All bins have been re-stocked by street cleansing teams.
Decisions to grit or not grit and how many runs need to be carried out are based on the winter forecast service provided by Metdesk. The service is activated whenever temperatures are predicted to fall below freezing.
Only roads and streets on the official main gritting routes are treated; the service cannot cover all 650 km of road throughout the borough.
Glenn Stuart, the council’s head of waste and transport services, said: “Keeping Bury moving and keeping people safe is a priority, so as winter starts to kick in our experienced team are already in action.
“Forecasts are constantly monitored so that we can pick the best times to send the gritters out and our team will be on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, working through the night until next April.
“Last year we made a total of 71 grit runs treating around 23,940 km of road with 1,821.54 tonnes of salt. That’s more than half way around the world!”
For more information about the winter service, including a list of treated roads and streets, self-help salt bin locations and advice on clearing ice and snow from pavements, visit www.bury.gov.uk/gritting.
For all the latest updates and alerts from Bury Council follow @BuryCouncil on Twitter.
In the event that severe ice or snow delays bin collections, advice will be posted online at www.bury.gov.uk/bincollections.
Press release issued: 13 November 2019.