Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “Our highways teams have been out round the clock since Christmas – first of all tackling the impact of Storm Bella and then salting the roads to combat icy conditions. We’ve had extra tree crews to deal with fallen trees, gully emptiers to keep surface water from the roads and now our winter teams will be out continuously treating the roads.”
Since 26 December, winter teams have spread over 1500 tonnes of salt, and been out five times each in the North and Central parts of Hampshire, and four times in the South of the county.
Councillor Humby continued: “We are doing all we can to keep the main roads clear for those who need to make essential journeys, and I would remind those who do need to travel at this time to please take care, check the weather forecast before setting out and drive according to the conditions at all times. The focus for our Highways teams is always on the roads that are used most. Our teams are still busy clearing up after Storm Bella and the salting lorries will treat the highest priority roads first - this includes main roads and also routes to hospitals and COVID testing and vaccination centres. During periods of prolonged severe weather, Priority two’ routes, which include remaining B roads and single access roads to villages, may also be treated. For those thinking of going out walking or cycling, please remember that surfaces could be icy.”
The 5km stretch of the A31 between Winchester and Alresford, which is key part of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum’s Operation Transmission plan, will also be salted regularly to ensure the continual flow of EU-bound freight vehicles onwards to the Port of Portsmouth. Operation Transmission comes into effect from 31st December and a contraflow will be installed overnight tonight (29 December) in preparation for this. While the contraflow is in place, the A31 will remain open in both directions using the eastbound carriageway, with a reduced 30mph speed limit in force.
There are thousands of blue salt bins across Hampshire being filled for community use. Salt from these bins is 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. Salt bins have also been placed at the COVID test sites.
It is particularly important that those at higher risk of suffering from the ill effects of cold weather are aware of the steps they can take to look after themselves. Those particularly at risk include, babies and very young children (under 5 years), older people (75+ years), people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart conditions, circulatory disease, asthma, COPD, depression, anxiety, diabetes or arthritis.
Councillor Judith Grajewski, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Public Health, said: “Hampshire is expecting some cold weather over the next few days and so it’s really important we keep ourselves safe and warm – particularly so, for those who are vulnerable and heeding the Government’s call to ‘stay at home’. There is plenty of information and advice available to help people to keep warm, and practical support, for those struggling to heat their homes. Please also look out – in a COVID-safe way - for any neighbours who may be shielding or unable to get out due to the weather.”
Hampshire County Council’s Hitting the Cold Spots (HTCS) initiative is a county-wide project offering advice and support to people who are having trouble staying warm during the winter, including home visits, help to access funding for heating repairs and replacements and temporary heating. In addition to the practical help available, Hampshire residents can also receive advice about tariff switching and referrals to other services for further help, including ‘safe and well’ visits and healthy living advice.
Some of the services have eligibility criteria, but the phone advice line is open to all Hampshire residents. The advisors will be able to talk through the best possible solutions for each caller. If you know someone who is struggling to stay warm and well this winter, please signpost them to an advisor on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on Operation Transmission and the A31 is available at: www.hants.gov.uk/transport/transportschemes/a31winchesterandalresford