Grittersaurus, the Blizzard of Oz and Thaw Enforcement ready to keep Hampshire’s roads safe through the winter

Hampshire Highways’ salting vehicles are ready for winter, with eight of them set to be named by local school children following a competition run in collaboration with Hampshire County Council’s Junior Road Safety Officer (JRSO) programme.

Nov 5 2019

Cllr Humby and gritter

Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “We’ve had a huge response to our call for winter gritter names - over 800 entries from junior and primary school children across Hampshire!  It’s been a tough choice, but we’ve narrowed it down, and will be naming eight salting lorries this winter, with the winning schools offered a visit from the vehicle they’ve named.”

Making their debut on Hampshire’s roads this winter are:

  • Thaw Enforcement
  • Snowbi-wan Kenobi
  • The Blizzard of Oz
  • The Grittalo
  • The Grittindoor
  • Grizzly Gritter
  • Blizzard Wizard
  • Grittersaurus
  • Gritters Got Talent

They join Spread Sheeran, Luke Snowalker, Mr Slippy, Gritly Come Dancing, Gritty Gritty Bang Bang, the Mad Gritter’s Tea Party, the Grittist Showman and Gritter Garbo who were the first of the new winter fleet named last winter.

Councillor Humby continued: “The JRSO scheme has been running successfully in Hampshire for over 10 years now, and I’m pleased to see how this competition has provided an additional opportunity to raise awareness with children of the importance of being safe and seen during the dark winter months, as well  as discuss how the gritters help keep Hampshire moving during cold weather.”

The JRSO scheme is run through primary and junior schools, with the school recruiting up to two pupil volunteers in Years 5 and 6 to act as road safety champions and take the lead in promoting road safety among their peers, through initiatives such as games, competitions and special assemblies.

Hampshire Highways’ dedicated fleet of 43 winter vehicles are fitted with the latest technology to ensure salting is accurate and efficient, including full GPS guidance and automatic salt delivery.  The vehicles also have Euro VI efficient engines and dedicated snow ploughs.

The winter fleet is on 24-hour standby, seven days a week, from 1 October right through until the end of April, to deal with wintery conditions.  Highways teams use detailed Hampshire-specific weather forecasts through the winter in combination with real time information from a network of electronic roadside weather stations to make decisions about the best time to salt the roads, where to salt and how much salt to use.  

Forecast road surface and air temperatures, wind speed and direction, rainfall, and ice formation are all important factors in putting the winter fleet to work. Roads are treated with salt before temperatures drop to freezing to try to stop frost and ice forming. Temperatures and conditions can vary significantly even within one county like Hampshire, so winter teams look at a number of distinct weather bands to help decide when and where to put the winter fleet to work.

Hampshire’s main roads will always be treated first.  These ‘Priority one’ routes cover approximately one third of the county road network but carry the majority of Hampshire’s traffic; covering A roads, some B roads, major bus routes, roads to hospitals and other key emergency hubs, large schools and colleges, areas of high traffic concentration and public transport interchanges.  During periods of prolonged severe weather, Priority two’ routes, which include remaining B roads and single access roads to villages, may also be treated.

There are thousands of blue or yellow salt bins across Hampshire being filled for community use. Salt from these bins are for use on public roads and pavements, and can be particularly useful to ‘join up’ salting from the main road, carried out by Hampshire County Council salting vehicles, to smaller access roads or on the pavements. One tablespoon of salt (20 grams) is sufficient to treat one square metre of road or pavement surface.

Councillor Humby explained: “If footways are icy, everyone can help in their neighbourhoods by using the salt bins. Spreading a small amount of salt from the community salt bins on the pavements or smaller access roads not covered by the highways crews can make a big impact on frozen and icy surfaces.”

Everyone needs to adapt the way they drive in winter when the conditions can make driving more hazardous – RoSPA has some helpful winter driving tips.

Follow our ‘gritter twitter’ @hantshighways to find out when and where the salting lorries are going out, throughout winter.

More information on Hampshire Highways' winter service

More information on Hampshire County Council's Junior Road Safety Officer scheme