Via East Midlands, who manage the county’s highways on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, grit when road temperatures are predicted to be at or below 0°C and when ice is predicted to form on the road surface.
23 gritting lorries, out of Via’s 31-strong fleet, are stationed across the county and grit 1,121 miles of Priority One routes. These include ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads (approximately one-third of the county’s entire road network), strategic routes carrying high traffic flows, main urban distributor roads and also main bus routes.
The remaining eight vehicles are maintained to cover mechanical faults and breakdowns.
When a sustained period of cold weather has been forecast including snow, Priority Two routes may be gritted if resources are available. These are a further defined network of important roads leading to essential industrial, military, medical or emergency service establishments, major settlements not served by Priority One Routes, access to special schools and certain problematical hilly areas.
A team of 23 permanent night shift drivers work from November to March and additional drivers are on hand to provide cover for daytime and weekend gritting. Local farmers have also been recruited to be on standby to assist in case of severe weather supported by a team of wardens.
All Via gritting lorries have GPS tracking systems and CCTV onboard. The tracking and routing system installed provides greater resilience and allows all drivers to drive any route in the county.
18,500 tonnes of salt are stored across four depots at Bilsthorpe, Markham Moor, Gamston and Newark. This is nearly 8,500 tonnes more than the recommended amount nationally and enough to carry out four gritting runs, every day, for three weeks.
Each time the lorries go out an area of 1,050,000m square in size is gritted – equivalent to 100 large football pitches. As each gritting run can take over three hours, residents’ roads will be gritted sometime after the gritting run commences.
Via make daily gritting decisions using ice prediction software, winter maintenance road forecasting services from MetDesk, and data from roadside weather stations across Nottinghamshire and neighbouring counties.
MetDesk issues the daily forecast at around midday. This is interrogated by Via’s day Duty Controller who takes into account predicted temperatures, rainfall and timings, and makes a decision whether or not to grit the roads. The Duty Controller will then issue the gritting instruction via e-mail and organise the gritting shift as necessary.
From 7pm each night, the Night Shift Controller will take over and respond to any changing weather conditions should the need arise.
The Council already spend £2.15 million on winter maintenance services
While we are well equipped, the County Council is unable to respond to every request for roads and pavements to be gritted - like every other local authority in the country.
Gritting every road in the county would cost an extra £5.2 million plus an additional £8 million to pay for new equipment and salt storage.
The gritting of motorways and trunk roads in Nottinghamshire including the M1, A1, A46, A52 and A453 is the responsibility of National Highways – call 0300 123 5000.
District gritting maps
Larger-scale maps are also available to download showing gritting routes for each district: