Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “We’re expecting an early freeze across Hampshire this evening, with a risk of ice forming as it gets dark, so our teams are out salting Hampshire’s main roads this afternoon. To tackle the added challenge of water continuing to run off fields following yesterday’s heavy rain, teams are putting out salt wicks on known problem locations to help prevent ice forming.
“As well as the icy conditions, our highways teams have been dealing with the aftermath of last night’s wind and rain. Emergency tree crews have been out since the early hours, clearing trees blocking the roads, mainly in the North East of the county.”
Following this afternoon’s salt run, highways teams are scheduled to start the next run at 3am tomorrow morning in preparation for the morning traffic. Salt runs take between three to four hours to complete.
Weather conditions are constantly monitored using local forecasting and roadside weather sensors to ensure salt is spread at the optimum time. Road surface and air temperatures, wind speed and direction, rainfall, and ice formation are all important factors to consider 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.
Highways crews will always salt Hampshire's main roads 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.
Councillor Humby continued: “It’s been good to see people using the salt in the community bins to treat their local paths and pavements, making it easier for people to get around. If you are out and about tonight, please take care; if you’re driving, please drive according to the conditions, slow down and leave more stopping distance.”
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
Find out more about priority routes and where to find your nearest salt bin on the map.
Follow our ‘gritter twitter’ @hantshighways to find out when and where the salting lorries are going out, throughout winter.