DCC begins gritting but motorists still warned to take care

PUBLISHED: 16:46 02 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:24 10 June 2010

DEVON County Council's highways teams will be working around the clock to keep the roads clear.

DEVON County Council's highways teams will be working around the clock to keep the roads clear.

Gritters are already out and about treating 1,650 miles on the county's salting network and the county council's "white out" fleet are on high alert and are prepared to be mobilised overnight if ploughs are needed to clear roads.

Freezing temperatures combined with snow and wintry showers mean that all of the county's 48 salting routes, 20 per cent of Devon's road network, will be treated.

Councillor Margaret Rogers, Devon County Council Executive Member for Environment, said: "Our highways teams are being kept busy by the current cold spell, already surpassing the amount of call outs and salt used for the whole of last winter, and I would like to thank them for their efforts and dedication.

"They are again preparing for heavy snow and are currently working to ensure the county's road network is clear, but drivers must never assume that a road has been salted."

Chris Cranston, Devon County Council's Highway Operations Control Centre Manager, said: "Heavy snow overnight could see snow laying on roads overnight, which could provide challenging conditions on the network in the morning until traffic gets going.

"The whole of the county is expected to be affected but forecasters are predicting the north of the county to bear the brunt. We are doing the best that we can in some of the most difficult conditions we have experienced in years and we would urge people to drive with care."

Work has been on-going to re-open the A3052 after it was closed at 10:30pm on Sunday evening due to ice on the road.

There are also roadworks on the A39 at Hoops Inn, and motorists are being advised that the diversionary route via Bideford, A386 to Holsworthy and A3072 to Bude, will be salted.

Extra staff have been deployed in the County's Highway Operations and Control Centre, which is staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year, to co-ordinate work on the highway network. It is fully equipped to monitor how the weather is affecting the road and uses state-of-the-art technology including radar and satellite images, and a network of roadside ice detectors to provide information on road conditions.

Devon County Council is responsible for 8,000 miles of roads - the biggest network of any local authority in the country. Around 11,000 tonnes of salt has been used on the County's salting network from the first treatment on 27 October to the end of January. That already exceeds more than the whole of last winter.

Motorists are being reminded of the following advice:

· Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures;

· Never assume a road has been salted - remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice. In very cold weather even salting will not stop ice from forming;

· Allow extra time for your journey and reduce your speed;

· Drive with care and according to the conditions.

For information on winter driving conditions see:

http://www.devon.gov.uk/travelling_on_devons_roads.pdf

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