Residents on roads taken off Sheffield’s gritting routes are calling for a rethink its decision after dozens of crashes on ice.
One of Sheffield Council’s own gritting lorries was even a casualty of the conditions on one of the coldest days of the years.
It overturned after being sent to treat treacherous ice on Douse Croft Lane, in the rural Mayfield Valley, an area which is no longer gritted on a precautionary basis because of council budget cuts.
Rhiannon Marsden, who lives at Knoll Top Farm in the valley, said several cars had crashed or been abandoned by their drivers before the truck was sent out, and warned: “It is only a matter of time before one of these road incidents results in serious injury or fatality. These road surfaces are lethal.”
Roads in Bradfield – another area no longer gritted as a precaution – and Greystones were also badly affected by the weekend’s icy weather, with motorists coming unstuck on slippery streets.
Temperatures dropped to -2C on Friday night, and only reached 4C on Saturday.
The council reduced the number of ‘priority two’ roads its contractor, Amey, grits by almost 100 miles earlier this year, as well as removing or relocating salt bins, in a bid to save £100,000.
Coun Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, said: “We had to make changes to the way we deliver services due to significant cuts in Government funding.
“We held a thorough consultation to gauge the public’s views about the changes we needed to make to our gritting service, with a significant response from residents and businesses across the city and we also consulted with emergency services.”
Coun Dunn urged drivers to be ‘more prepared’ to cope with icy conditions.
She said: “Being prepared can involve simple things, like allowing extra journey time or altering routes to keep to main roads.”
The crashed gritter’s crew were not seriously injured. A widespread frost is forecast for Sheffield tonight.