Somerset’s highways teams are all set for winter – with 23 gritters on standby and 7,000 tonnes of salt ready to roll when temperatures drop.
This winter Somerset County Council will be investing an extra £200,000 into its winter service and has fully reviewed its winter policy.
This means the precautionary gritting network – the roads treated every time ice or snow is expected – will be increased from approximately 720 miles last winter to 900 miles of road this winter.
This is around 21 per cent of the total roads in Somerset and a similar level to 2017/18, although due to the policy review it is not the exact same roads. You can check which roads are now included at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/gritting.
Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Our highways teams do a fantastic job keeping our roads clear of snow and ice throughout the winter, working hard when conditions are at their worst.
“This year we’re pleased to be investing more money and gritting more roads than before, but our advice to drivers is unchanged.
“The vast majority of roads are not gritted and ice can still form on gritted roads so always drive to the conditions and take extra care in winter.
“I’d also encourage drivers to check our map to see the additional roads which will now be gritted and follow @TravelSomerset on Twitter for daily updates direct from our gritting teams.”
Somerset County Council receives detailed forecasts every day and will send the gritters out whenever road surface temperatures are predicted to drop below 1C and frost or ice is expected.
Precautionary salting normally takes place before temperatures drop, meaning gritters are often out in the evening or early morning.
In the event of snow, the Council has established emergency plans in place and employs farmers and snowplough contractors to clear snow as quickly as possible.
Roadside grit bins will continue to be filled when requested by parish councils and a new snow warden scheme has been introduced to enable parish council volunteers to assist with localised snow clearance in their communities.
Throughout the winter you can receive daily updates on gritting activity, as well as receiving live travel information and roads alerts, by following the Council’s dedicated highways Twitter account – @TravelSomerset.
Winter updates are also available at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/gritting, along with a searchable gritting map so you can check exactly which roads will be gritted.