Keeping roads fit for winter

The Highways Agency Winter Maintenance programme launch.  Sujad Hussain, Highways Service Delivery Manager for Yorkshire and the North East with some of the 4,000 tonnes of rock salt ready to go on our roads.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
The Highways Agency Winter Maintenance programme launch. Sujad Hussain, Highways Service Delivery Manager for Yorkshire and the North East with some of the 4,000 tonnes of rock salt ready to go on our roads. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
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Highways chiefs say they are ready for action to keep motorways and major roads in South Yorkshire open during severe wintry weather.

But the Highways Agency is urging drivers to do their bit by making sure vehicles are in good condition and ensuring they carry emergency items in case they get stuck.

The Highways Agency Winter Maintenance programme launch.  Sujad Hussain, Highways Service Delivery Manager for Yorkshire and the North East with some of the 4,000 tonnes of rock salt ready to go on our roads.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham

The Highways Agency Winter Maintenance programme launch. Sujad Hussain, Highways Service Delivery Manager for Yorkshire and the North East with some of the 4,000 tonnes of rock salt ready to go on our roads. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Staff at the agency’s main depot in South Yorkshire, in Birdwell, Barnsley, have been preparing their fleet of gritters and making sure they have enough salt.

The salt barn holds approximately 2,500 tonnes which is replenished from a national supply of 250,000 tonnes. Four gritters and 12 staff are also based there.

Traffic management director Simon Sheldon-Wilson said: “Using detailed weather forecasts, we will be treating the roads before temperatures fall – often at night in preparation for peak traffic periods.

“But drivers still need to take care and plan ahead.”

The Highways Agency Winter Maintenance programme launch.  Sujad Hussain, Highways Service Delivery Manager for Yorkshire and the North East with some of the 4,000 tonnes of rock salt ready to go on our roads.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham

The Highways Agency Winter Maintenance programme launch. Sujad Hussain, Highways Service Delivery Manager for Yorkshire and the North East with some of the 4,000 tonnes of rock salt ready to go on our roads. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Research shows 74 per cent of drivers in Yorkshire and Humber check their vehicles before they travel in severe weather compared to 55 per cent nationally.

Drivers are urged to carry emergency kit including an ice-scraper, de-icer, warm clothes and blankets, a torch, boots, first aid kit, a spade and a road atlas.

Motorists should also plan journeys and check weather and travel conditions.

In Sheffield, council bosses say contractor Amey is also ready to tackle ice and snow on roads.

Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, said: “Our Streets Ahead contractor Amey did a great job last year in what was one of the harshest winters for 40 years.

“They are prepared again for this year.”

He also called on people to use grit bins to keep side roads and pavements clear, and help elderly people.

Coun Scott said: “We’re really keen to spread the message about how people can help themselves by using our grit bins to help keep the pavements clear and also looking out for elderly neighbours and relatives during bad weather.”

Amey operations director Chris Morris said: “We grit 720 miles of urban and rural roads when freezing temperatures are forecast and clear heavy snow.”