Gritting cost �1million

GRITTING the county s roads this winter has more than �1 million - and that bill is set to rise as another Arctic was expected to hit the blast this week.

GRITTING the county's roads this winter has more than �1 million - and that bill is set to rise as another Arctic was expected to hit the blast this week.

More than 18,000 tonnes of salt has been used on Devon's roads since November 30, the equivalent of one and a half winters and nearing the 20,000 tonnes was used for the whole of last winter.

Highways chiefs say the county's main salting routes remain passable with the exception of some moorland roads.

But gritting off the major roads has stopped except to support access to hospitals and Secondary schools.

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Devon's 1,550 grit bins are being re-filled and the council has 4,000 tonnes of salt remaining and expects to receive another 1,000 tonnes this week and a further 15,000 tonnes has been ordered from Northern Ireland.

This week a half of all school transport has been operating while key access routes and entrances to major secondary and Community College sites are being gritted.

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Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "The slight thaw we've had in some areas can be deceptive and when the run-off freezes it could leave patches of black ice. People must take extra care when heading out, even on roads that have been salted. Major roads are our priority and will continue to be so, but our highways teams are doing everything possible and are attempting to improve access to schools and are continuing to re-fill grit bins."

Chris Cranston, Devon County Council's Highway Operations Manager, said:

"While the general situation has improved temporarily, we must remain vigilant.

"The winds are also expected to pick up which will lead to drifting especially in exposed areas over the moor.

"Whilst Devon County Council will have all available resources mobilised to deal with the impending situation, there will be places that will not receive any salt or grit treatment for some time. The gritters will be working throughout the day and night to keep the main routes open but many of the minor roads are likely to remain impassable.

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