Gritter fleet ready to beat winter snows
South Lanarkshire’s fleet of gritters and snow ploughs are out of storage and ready for winter.
Forty- eight gritters, 43 snow ploughs, one snowblower, 24 tractors, six loaders and over 200 winter road workers are on alert for the big freeze.
And 39,000 tonnes of road salt and grit is stockpiled at roads depots, with more than 1900 grit bins out in the community being checked and topped up to tackle extreme weather conditions.
The local authority’s flood alert teams and patrols are also moving to their winter footing, which will see them on call 24/7 and continuing routine inspections of flood risk reduction measures.
Flooding scouts are sent out when rainfall exceeds 5mm in one hour or 25mm in any 24-hour period. They monitor known flood risk areas, clearing anything that might block culverts.
Chair of enterprise services Chris Thompson urged locals to be prepared for wintry conditions.
He said: “If you drive, now is the time to make sure your car is ready for winter. Ensure you have anti-freeze in your radiator and cold weather screenwash, have an emergency kit in your car with a blanket, water, some snacks, a torch and a shovel.
“If you do have winter tyres think about when you are going to switch to them and don’t forget sunglasses can be vital to combat glare from the low winter sun.
“Be ready at home as well. Have a snow shovel to clear your path or drive and, if possible, the footpath outside your home.
“Have a stock of salt, have torches with charged batteries in easy to reach places and think of older or less able neighbours. Perhaps you could help them prepare.”
The council’s winter plan includes gritting 52 per cent of the road network when ice or snow is forecast and also gritting town centre footpaths.
Gritting routes include roads giving access to hospitals, ambulance depots, fire stations, police stations and schools, A and B class roads and distributor roads in urban areas but do not generally include residential roads and paths.
Head of the council’s roads and transportation department Gordon Mackay said: “It can take up to four hours to grit some routes and a lot of snow can fall in that time.
“In very cold weather salt won’t work and if there’s rain or sleet it can wash away the salt then refreeze on the road surface.
“Even if you have seen gritters passing, always take extra care when snow or ice is forecast.”
Councillor Thompson added: “Grit bins are there to help you but they are not there as a free supply for use on private property.
“They are there to assist public safety on public roads and paths and to help the community help each other.”
He added that in the event of a flooding threat an early warning can make all the difference, saying: “Where we know there is a heightened threat of flooding we can take action to reduce the risk but fallen trees and other debris washed down in heavy rain can cause problems to spring up without warning.”