Devon is preparing for the coldest night so far this winter
Although the forecast for significant snowfall overnight is low, road surface temperatures are expected to drop to -10C this evening, creating a risk of ice which may form from the existing snow.
Devon County Council’s gritters have been working continuously throughout today, salting around 2,000 miles of roads across Devon on the main and secondary roads to ensure the majority of treated routes are passable with care. Snow ploughs have also been clearing drifting snow on Exmoor and Dartmoor.
More than 400 tonnes of salt have been spread on Devon’s roads in the past 24 hours alone. So far this winter, over 4,500 tonnes of salt have been used by the County Council as its gritters have been called out on 33 occasions. However, Devon still has more than 20,000 tonnes of salt remaining in its stocks.
Devon’s entire fleet of gritters will be treating the major road network again between 6pm and 8pm this evening, and then again in most areas at 4am. The Highways Agency will also be out treating 170 miles on its strategic road network in the county.
Around 25 schools were closed today due to the weather, and a number of school bus routes were disrupted. A full list of route delays and cancellations and schools closures can be found by logging on to www.devonschoolclosures.info/
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Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “We’re facing the prospect of the coldest temperatures so far this winter, so icy roads will be a very real risk following the snowfall in the past 24 hours. Our gritting teams have been working flat out throughout the day and last night to keep major roads as clear as possible. They will be doing everything they possibly can again overnight to keep Devon moving.
“Motorists are advised only to make essential journeys and to drive with extreme caution as conditions are still treacherous, particularly on roads which haven’t been salted. Even roads which have been treated may still be icy with the prospect of such low temperatures.”
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Anyone using salt from a County Council grit bin to treat roads and pavements is reminded that it is only to be used for the public highway. Only small amounts of salt are required to be effective and it should be used sparingly.
Motorists are 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, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;
* Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed;
* Drive with care and according to the conditions;
* If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;
* Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions.
For more information and travel advice visit: www.devon.gov.uk/winter_travel