Express & Star

34,000 tons of road salt ready for winter

THOUSANDS of tons of salt have been prepared ready for winter to keep the region’s motorways and A roads running smoothly.

Grit has been prepared ahead of the winter weather.

Highways England is responsible for looking after 1,000 miles of motorway and trunk road in the West Midlands.

The Government-owned company today said it has prepared a total of 34,000 tons of salt stored in 12 depots. It has more than 200 staff, a fleet of 61 gritters and three snow blowers dedicated to the region.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said: “It is essential to keep our road network running throughout the winter.

“Highways England has informed us that they are well prepared for adverse weather, with enough salt to cover 610,000 miles of our motorways.

“But the expert advice is clear – drivers need to make their own judgments about road conditions. If it doesn’t look safe then they should stay put and travel once weather conditions have improved.”

Across the country, Highways England has 1,300 specially-trained gritter drivers, more than 280,000 tons of salt and more than 500 salt spreading vehicles ready.

It also has more than 250 environmental sensor stations that provide real-time monitoring of road weather conditions and temperatures.

Highways England is urging drivers not to use the hard shoulder to undertake gritters, risking a collision with a stationary vehicle and causing a hazard when gritters try to come off at junctions.

National winter and severe weather team leader, Paul Furlong, said: “We care about people getting to their destinations safely, and during any severe weather our teams will be working around the clock.

“We’re asking drivers to make sure they and their vehicles are also prepared. Before you set out, check your vehicle, the road conditions and the weather forecast. If conditions are poor, and journeys are not essential, consider waiting until the weather gets better – this should improve journeys, and give our gritters a chance to treat the roads.’’

Drivers are also encouraged to make sure they have a winter kit, including an ice scraper and de-icer, warm clothes and sunglasses to cope with the low winter sun.