Grit­ter fleet ready to beat win­ter snows

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Ni­cola Find­lay

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.”

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