Cheshire East Council has confirmed that changes to gritting routes will be implemented next winter following a review.
The ‘Well-Managed Highway Infrastructure’ (WMHI) code of practice, which is overseen by the UK Roads Liaison Group on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT), recommended local highway authorities review gritting routes to prioritise the most critical parts of the road network.
This includes local amenities, public transport and risks – such as steep gradients, cold spots and other known local issues.
This guidance, which will be linked to incentive funding from the DfT, has been adopted by Cheshire East Council to demonstrate best practice.
The new gritting routes have been determined according to published assessment criteria, with each road scored and ranked accordingly, following various consultations with council members, area highway group chairs, all schools, cycling groups, town and parish councils and emergency services.
Consideration was given to all comments and feedback and the winter treatment network has now been finalised.
As a result of extended consultation, a number of routes previously earmarked for removal have now been added, including:
- In the north of the borough – Shrigley Road, Pott Shrigley; Burleyhurst Lane, Mobberley; and Mobberley Road, Wilmslow;
- In the centre of the borough – Clare Street, Odd Rode; St Ann’s Road, Middlewich; and Church Bank, Goostrey;
- In the south of the borough – Wrenbury Road, Marbury; Mablins Lane, Crewe; and New Road, Wrenbury.
A total of 1,043km out of 2,700km (38 per cent) of the highway network has been identified as requiring routine winter treatment.
Councillor Craig Browne, chair of the council’s highways and transport committee, said: “This review was essential to ensure the council does not lose future incentive funding (around £2m) from the DfT, thereby placing an even bigger strain on the borough’s crumbling road network.
“The code of practice requires that we focus our efforts on gritting roads where there is higher risk and we will continue to provide an effective and responsive service – as the safety of our road users is paramount.”
The winter maintenance season will run from 1 October 2021 to April 2022 and will provide a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week service to keep the borough’s roads open and safe during the winter months.