Millions spent on snow defences

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MILLIONS of pounds have been spent on keeping Sheffield moving when the cold weather strikes this winter.

A total of £2.1 million has been invested in a new fleet of 21 gritters to replace 19 ageing models, in a bid to prevent snow and ice paralysing the city’s transport network.

There are also 26 tractor ploughs, 24 snow ploughs and a snow blower available, in addition to a stockpile of 16,000 tonnes of grit.

All have been funded by private contractor Amey, which is running Sheffield Council’s highway maintenance over the next 25 years.

Highways staff are now on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the aim of gritting 720 miles of the city’s roads when forecasters predict cold snaps.

Sixteen routes will be treated first as a priority, including main roads and streets leading to hospitals, fire stations and schools.

The new gritters, worth £100,000 each, include bigger vehicles which don’t need to be reloaded as often. Sheffield’s grit stockpile is expected to be increased to 24,000 tonnes by Christmas.

Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, said: “We are better prepared than ever. We’re also encouraging residents and businesses to ensure they are prepared.”

Two thousand grit bins have been stocked up, he added.