Hampshire County Council’s highways service ready for cold snap

With a chance of overnight frosts and even some snow in the coming days, the County Council’s highway teams remain ready, day and night, to keep Hampshire’s main routes gritted, and to respond to surface water flooding and fallen debris on the roads

Nov 29 2023

Residents are also being reminded to take advantage of the network of community salt bins that are on hand when the temperatures do drop. 

Councillor Nick Adams-King, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Universal Services, which covers Highways operations, said: “Our highways team are always fully prepared for the winter months, whether that is freezing conditions, snow, high winds or extended rainfall. The county’s salt barns are fully stocked, with around 15,500 tonnes of salt available, and our gritter fleet of 42 vehicles is always on standby. Over the summer months, we have also been refilling the County Council’s network of blue and yellow community salt bins. This salt is freely available for everyone to use on roads and pavements and it can be particularly useful to ‘join up’ salting from the main roads, which is carried out by our gritters. A little goes a long way, with just one tablespoon of salt sufficient to treat up to one square metre of road or pavement surface, but the difference this action can make, especially to less mobile people, is huge.

“Recent wet weather has meant that groundwater levels remain high in many areas of the county. With the prospect of another wet winter, we are now undertaking additional checks and cleanses of roadside gullies and other drainage features in areas where groundwater is a concern. This is also a good time for landowners to check and clear ditches and watercourses under their care, which helps to prevent water overflowing onto the road network.” 

The County Council’s fleet of winter vehicles are all fitted with the latest technology to ensure salting is deposited on the highway accurately and efficiently, and this includes full satellite navigation guidance, automatic salt delivery and dedicated snow plough fitments. All drivers receive specialist training and our gritters travel at no more than 30 mph when undertaking salting operations.

Hampshire’s main roads are always treated first. Our 44 ‘priority one’ routes carry most of the Hampshire’s traffic - covering A roads, some B roads, roads to hospitals and other key emergency hubs, large schools and colleges and major bus routes. Each salt run takes approximately three to four hours to complete.

During periods of prolonged severe weather, our ‘priority two’ routes, which include remaining B roads and single access roads to villages, may also be treated.

Further information for the public is available as follows: 

Salting routes and community salt bin locations 

Advice on clearing snow and ice from pavements https://www.gov.uk/clear-snow-road-path-cycleway

Follow @hantshighways on X (formerly Twitter) to find out when and where the salting lorries are going out, throughout winter.

Report surface water flooding on the highway www.hants.gov.uk/transport/roadmaintenance/roadproblems 

Report an issue with flooding from a main river to the Environment Agency www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency or phone 0800 80 70 60. 

Last winter, Hampshire’s gritter fleet used 17,700 tonnes of salt, enough to fill 20 Olympic size swimming pools; and treated more than 140,660 miles of road, equal to driving seven times around the Earth, or more than halfway to the Moon. 

Throughout the year, the County Council routinely maintains Hampshire’s 212,000 gullies and 15,000 catchpits (an empty chamber that is installed into a drainage system to prevent silt and debris from building up and causing blockages).

The County Council is responsible for more than 5,000 miles of local roads.