Essex Highways is ready to deliver this year’s winter gritting programme on the county’s roads, a service which starts on Monday 24th October.
Salt-barns are filled and gritter truck drivers will be on stand-by from this date. County residents may have seen gritter vehicles at the beginning of October, even though it was not cold enough. This was to allow drivers to refresh their knowledge of all the routes we grit and learn new routes.
Last year, Essex Highways began a route optimisation scheme which saw 12 routes combined into six. A further optimisation has been carried out ahead of this winter season.
Changes were made in-house to routes, reducing the need for five of the gritting vehicles. Routes have also been made more efficient, reducing fuel spend on ‘dead running’ – when the gritter is travelling between routes but not spreading any grit.
These changes mean an estimated £10,000 less will be spent on fuel this year, saving 14 tonnes of CO2.
The reduction of 11 routes and added efficiency enhancements mean that the Essex Winter service this year is being delivered for around £216,000 less than two years ago and helping to deliver a safer, greener, and healthier Essex.
Councillor Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport at Essex County Council, says; “Throughout our winter maintenance period, our gritter crews are on standby to keep the Essex road network open and safe. Long-range weather forecasts cannot always tell us with any reliability what sort of winter weather we may get, so being as prepared as possible for all conditions is a must. Last winter in Essex our gritters went out 59 times on our 59 routes, over 114,000 miles and using almost 13,000 tonnes of salt on our road network.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our gritter team for the vital work they do to keep our road network moving safely throughout the winter months. The gritter drivers are the same operatives who repair potholes and jet drains, among other things, so they are very busy at this time of year.”