Changes to highways winter service 2018/19
Precautionary gritting network
The precautionary gritting network is the network of roads treated to help prevent ice forming when road temperatures are predicted to drop below one degree centigrade.
This year the County Council will be gritting 720 miles (1,159km) or around 17 per cent of the total road network of 4,164 miles (6,702km) in Somerset. This is a reduction from 900 miles or 21 per cent of the network last year.
Resources are not available to treat all roads so criteria have been used that meet national guidelines to enable the precautionary gritting network to be defined. This has been done to ensure a consistent approach across the county and achieve a responsible balance between cost and level of service.
The criteria now used to define the routes are:
- Connectivity between major communities;
- Links to the strategic highway network;
- Connectivity across authority boundaries where appropriate;
- Links to transport interchanges;
- Access to emergency facilities including Fire and Rescue, Police, Ambulance Services and hospitals;
- Links to critical infrastructure;
- Principal public transport routes, access to rail and bus stations, and to bus garages and other depots;
- Other locally important facilities.
The County Council encourage you to check which roads are now included and those which are not in the attached maps or visit www.travelsomerset.co.uk/gritting where you can zoom in and search by location or road name.
Roads removed from the precautionary network will continue to be treated as part of the secondary network in the event of prolonged periods of ice and snow.
In the event of snow the County Council will continue to deploy snowploughs to clear the network as quickly as we are able. Their arrangements to employ farmers and snowplough operators are not affected by these changes. They will continue to prioritise their precautionary gritting network and move on to clear the secondary and minor networks as resources allow. The County Council have established emergency plans working alongside the emergency services and these do not change.
The County Council is working closely with our highways maintenance contractor Skanska to explore opportunities for parish volunteers to be trained and equipped to act as Community Snow Wardens. If you would be interested in taking part in a pilot scheme, please get in touch.
Map of the precautionary gritting network