Don’t panic!

Mark McCartney, Highways DLO (Direct Labour Organisation) manager, at the new 4,000 tonnes salt storage barn at Wigan Council's Sovereign Road Depot
Mark McCartney, Highways DLO (Direct Labour Organisation) manager, at the new 4,000 tonnes salt storage barn at Wigan Council's Sovereign Road Depot
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WIGAN is still stocked up on grit - despite the early big freeze.

More than 4,000 tonnes were stored at the base on Sovereign Street earlier this year and the council say it has used 1,500 tonnes so far.

The town was hit with horrendous conditions last weekend when seven inches of snow fell, causing mayhem on the streets.

Gritting chiefs at the council are pleased with the amount still at their disposal - and are still drafting in more.

Depot manager Mark McCartney said: “The current stock level as of this morning at Sovereign Road is 2,478 tonnes, which is pretty good considering the weather we have had.

“We have seen a reduction in the amount of salt we use to produce the same effect since we have built the salt barn, so stocks are holding up fairly well. We currently have a further 1,500 tonnes on order.”

The council’s gritting policy is to treat all major roads and public transport routes. Grit bins have also been placed at strategic locations across Wigan Borough to enable residents to treat sections of road that may become hazardous during icy conditions.

The council has had to scrap bin routes along minor roads in the town as the conditions are too hazardous.

Normal service has resumed along main roads but for those who aren’t accessible, special collection points, which can be found on the council’s website, have been set up.

Mr McCartney added: “This year we have a stock which exceeds the tonnage of most authorities at the beginning of a season. The teams continue to work solidly on the network through the nights and we’re grateful people appreciate this.”

Tony Armstrong of organisation Living Streets has called on local councils to not only grit roads but also pavements.

He said: “The Government doesn’t appear to be learning from the past two winters and has not adequately prepared yet again. Not only is travel in chaos generally, but our pavements are still being neglected while roads take priority. There are willing volunteers out there who are happy to grit pavements in their local areas, but advice seems to be to leave the grit in bins for the purpose of gritting roads, whilst those on foot are neglected.”