True grit shown in highways response

Gritter with snow plough. Photo by Will Badman Photography

The highways network in Somerset is returning to normal after some of the worst winter weather experienced in the county for years.

Highways teams using snowploughs, blowers, diggers and gritters worked 24/7 from midnight on Wednesday through the weekend to keep main roads clear of snow and ice.

Gritting crews covered more than 14,000 miles of road in this time – the equivalent of driving from Taunton to New York via Hong Kong.

More than 1,800 tonnes of salt was used in the battle to keep roads clear – weighing the same as 257 elephants.

Salt delivery at Yeovil highways depot. Photo by Will Badman Photography

Somerset County Council’s fleet of 23 gritters were in continuous use targeting the principal road network, while district council partners assisted in urban areas. Contingency plans to employ farm contractors to use tractors and snowploughs to clear snow were also activated.

A farm contractor working at night to clear deep snow drifts on Exmoor

Councillor David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “This was an exceptionally challenging spell of weather with blizzards, freezing rain and gale force winds causing snow drifts not seen in Somerset in many years.

“So I’m extremely proud of the way our teams stepped up, working around the clock in hazardous conditions to keep the county moving. I want to thank everyone involved – and that includes our own staff, contractor Skanska, our district council colleagues who assisted in urban areas, and all our farm contractors who we have on standby precisely for rare events like this. Well done to all involved.

“The emergency response may be over but the hard work continues this week with some snow still to clear and the risk of localised surface water flooding or road damage to repair.”

You can report any road problems, check for travel updates or find out more about gritting via the Drive section at You can also stay up to date with the work of Somerset County Council’s highways team by following @TravelSomerset on Twitter.

Clearing snow near Castle Cary. Photo by Will Badman Photography