Thursday, 21 March 2013

Gritters ready for more snow and ice, says County Council

Lancashire's gritters are gearing-up to keep the county moving with current forecasts predicting a risk of snow through Thursday night into Friday and the possibility of more winter weather for the weekend.

Crews will be gritting throughout the county on Thursday evening and will plough and grit as necessary through the night in east Lancashire where the worst conditions are expected.

Inspections will be carried out in all areas in the early hours with crews ready to respond quickly to changing conditions, and a new shift of drivers will be ready to keep ploughing and gritting on Friday morning if needed.

Forecasts for east Lancashire predict that up to 2cm of snow could fall quite widely, with up to 15cm in higher areas and strong winds causing blizzard-like condition and drifting over high ground.

County Councillor Tim Ashton, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "We're as well prepared as we've ever been thanks to experience gained from recent severe winters and our gritting crews will be working around the clock if needed to keep Lancashire moving.

"As always our top priority in the event of significant snow will be to focus at first on ploughing and salting the network of A and B roads which link towns, villages, and vital infrastructure such as train stations and hospitals.

"During a snowstorm this can be a challenge in itself, and depending on the conditions it could be some time before the main routes are clear and we have the resources available to treat the secondary network of more minor roads.

"I would ask people to be prepared and check their vehicles are equipped for winter, and also to carefully! consider whether they need to make a journey at all if they know travel is disrupted."

Lancashire County Council has a fleet of 49 frontline gritters which can treat the 1,500 miles of the county council's priority road network within around four hours, but may take longer in severe conditions.

When it snows, it can cost up to £100,000 a day to keep the operation going.

County Councillor Ashton added: "I'd ask everyone to be careful with the cold conditions predicted to be with us into next week. Even when a road has been gritted, it can remain icy until the movement of traffic has worked the salt in and made it take effect."

People can find information and advice on winter weather, including real-time gritting updates on Lancashire County Council's website which has links to forecasts and the council's Twitter and Facebook feeds which are updated every time the gritters go out.

• For more information about travelling this winter visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/winter, follow us on Twitter for news and updates at www.twitter.com/lancashirecc or Facebook www.facebook.com/lancashirecc (click on the winter tab).

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