Gritters drive over 19,000km across Wigan borough so far this winter

Wigan Council’s gritting crews have been at the frontline of recent cold snaps and with a yellow warning for snow in place for the borough, it is expected to be another busy period.
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Coun Paul Prescott, cabinet portfolio holder for planning, environmental services and transport, said “So far this winter maintenance season, our gritting crews have gone out on over 40 runs to spread salt on roads across Wigan borough, using over 1,800 tonnes of salt. They have treated over 19,000km of road surface in our borough.

“There is still around 1,700 tonnes of salt left in the barn, so we are well prepared to keep our roads moving and our borough safe this winter.

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“With a yellow warning for snow covering Wigan borough, alongside the north of the England and Scotland, we are reminding road users to travel safe and be prepared.”

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Unfortunately, the council cannot grit the entire road network, so routes are chosen strategically to keep the most important ones open; main roads, bus routes and access to emergency service locations among them.

Experienced officers use a network of “sensors” that are spread around the borough to supplement data from local and regional weather stations to decide the best time to go out gritting, to ensure it is as effective as possible.

As the salt itself doesn’t directly melt snow, it has to be spread before the snow falls and over time the traffic will then work it into the road surface, which helps prevent ice forming.

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If snow then falls or road temperatures drop it will mix with the salt to create a salty solution which doesn’t freeze as quickly as water. This helps to slow the build-up of snow and stops ice forming.

Coun Prescott added: “On behalf of road users across our borough, I would like to say a huge thank you to our crews.

“Their hard work was rightly recognised with a nomination and a win last year at the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) Performance Network awards, for best performing roads, highway and winter maintenance team.

“They are on standby from October right through to at least March, ready to go out in cold temperatures and often challenging conditions, to ensure our roads are kept safe.”