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Salt mountain on standby as cold moves in

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Gritting crews will be on standby to start spreading salt on the streets from Monday as temperatures across the region start to plummet.

Gritting crews will be on standby to start spreading salt on the streets from Monday as temperatures across the region start to plummet.

Almost all the 3,500 tons of rock salt which has been ordered by Wolverhampton City Council for the winter has now been stockpiled as preparations gather pace for when a cold spell hits.

Crews in the city have already been put on standby for one night earlier this month when temperatures dropped, but they didn't need to go out in the end.

However from Monday they will be officially on standby to go out when needed. Ian Law, Wolverhampton City Council's highway operational services manager, said: "The city council will soon be carrying out a test run for its fleet of gritting vehicles ahead of the approaching winter season.

"We began monitoring overnight temperatures from October 1 and gritting crews will go on standby from Monday as the average temperatures are now starting to drop.

"The crews could also be called on if we had experienced problems prior to this, and actually went on standby on the night of October 19 following a forecast which could have required us to grit. They will remain on standby throughout the winter period." Last winter was the coldest in 30 years with gritting operations in some areas restricted to major roads. Councils were ordered to increase their salt stockpiles as a result.

Steve Woodward, Wolverhampton City Council's head of street scene services, added: "We would normally hold 2,500 tonnes of rock salt, but will this year be increasing our holding by an additional 1,000 tonnes after the Government local authorities to improve their resilience this winter by stocking more gritting salt. Of this, the initial 2,500 tons of rock salt is coated with molasses, a by product of the sugar making process.

"This is slightly more expensive than standard rock salt but gives a better coverage of the network as it sticks to the road when it is applied.

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"The additional 1,000 tons will be standard rock salt.

"We have so far stockpiled 3,100 tonnes, with the remainder due to arrive in the next few weeks as the existing stock is used."

By Helen Cartwright

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