Gritting bosses today reassured Sheffield they are ‘ready for anything’ as the city faces its first big freeze of the winter.
Conditions are set to get frosty in the next few days – with temperatures plunging below freezing – and teams from Sheffield’s Olive Grove Depot have already been out to treat the roads.
Winter maintenance manager Jim Pursglove’s job is to interpret the waves of data the team receives daily from nearby weather stations and decide when to dispatch gritters.
“I guess that makes me the one to blame if there are any problems,” said Jim, who works for highway maintenance contractors Amey, on behalf of Sheffield Council.
“Right now we’ve got 16,000 tonnes of salt in the depot and 18 gritters ready to hit the roads when needed.
“That’s the same amount of salt we had last year, which was plenty, and that was a much harsher winter than we’re expecting this time, so we foresee no problems.
“We’ve already had a little snow this week and so we went out on Wednesday to give the roads a full treatment.
“In busy times we can get all 18 gritters loaded up in less than two hours and our team of 28 men is on 24-hour standby through the winter months.”
Jim reassured Sheffielders they are unlikely to see any more snow in the coming days – but confirmed temperatures are set to fall below zero.
He added: “The data for the next week is telling us it’s going to be cold but dry, and there is nothing to suggest any significant snow anytime in the near future.
“That being said, snow is not our only cause for concern. The temperatures play a role too, as ice and frost can form anywhere around one degree, so we’re ready to go.”
A spokesman for weather forecasters Meteogroup told The Star temperatures are decidedly on the wane.
“It’s a cold week, no doubt, but we’re seeing nothing to suggest any sort of precipitation,” he said.
“We’re expecting lows of minus one in Sheffield over the weekend, but winds are expected to be much lighter than they’ve been.
“This chilly period, the city’s first of the winter, looks set to last about 10 days in all, and we’re expecting rain to move in next week, bringing some warmer temperatures with it.”
Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, said: “The council and Amey are just as ready this year as we were last, when all the teams involved worked together impressively to keep Sheffield moving through some tough weather.
“We have a long term forecast that says there will be some snow this year, but probably not as much as last year which is good.
“Our focus, going into winter, will be gritting the main roads in the city first, along with hospital, bus and school routes, followed by secondary side roads.
“We don’t pretend we can grit every single road in the city, it’s not possible, there’s too much and no city in the country does that. But we’re confident we can do a great job and keep the city moving.
“There are also 2,000 grit bins around the city that are filled up now and waiting to be accessed by any residents who feel they need extra grit in and around their homes.”