Highways team prepares for icy and snowy Sheffield weather following busiest winter in recent years

Sheffield Council’s highways contractor is gearing up for wild weather following one of the busiest winters in recent years.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 7:00 am

October 1 marks the start of the winter service – run by Amey for the council – which runs until April 30.

It has a fleet of gritters and workers on standby 24 hours a day to tackle icy conditions.

Wayne Southall, manager of Amey’s winter operations in Sheffield, said last winter felt longer than usual with cold lasting until early May.

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He said this made it one of the busiest winters in recent years and their teams completed more than 120 gritting runs, spreading over 14,000 tonnes of grit on the city’s roads.

Mr Southall said: “We don’t yet know what weather to expect in coming months, but we want Sheffield residents to rest assured that we will work around the clock to keep the city moving safely, through all conditions.

“During snow events, there’s always a real sense of community across Sheffield. And with over 2,200 grit bins, we would encourage residents to make use of local grit supplies when pavements become icy.”

Mr Southall said Sheffield’s two salt barns hold a total of 15,000 tonnes of grit – equivalent to filling an entire football stadium up to head height.

He said all of the gritters seen on the city’s roads – which spread grit and plough before, during and after it snows – are between 18 and 23 tonnes each which is about the same size as a bin lorry or fire engine.

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More than 60 percent of the highways network is gritted and this is done in priority order, starting with main routes linking Sheffield to other major cities and motorways.

The team is constantly looking out for signs of bad weather so it can react quickly.

“Our own weather forecaster provides us with a forecast in the morning and the main one at midday every single day during the winter period,” Mr Southall said. “Forecasters are on call 24/7 so we can talk to them whenever we need to. They also have access to ten local weather stations as well as national weather models.”

Councillor Paul Wood, cabinet member for roads at the council, said: “Winter can be unpredictable in terms of weather and in recent years we’ve had a real mix of conditions, affecting the city’s highway network in very different ways. Last year was particularly challenging, with the additional requirements to keep areas around Covid vaccine and testing centres clear.

“However, we know that it’s important that we can all continue to get around safely during adverse weather and Streets Ahead ensures that we can all do so, even during the toughest of conditions.”

He advised that in the event of snow, residents should check out information available online and “be in the know when it comes to snow”.

“Our Area Highway Representatives will be on hand to respond to local issues and, as always, the council’s estate neighbourhood officers will be out and about on council estates, helping to clear footpaths.”

For more information on the winter service, visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/winter and follow @sccstreetsahead on Twitter for updates.