Scotland’s trunk roads will be patrolled by a record number of gritters this winter to help keep Scotland moving during challenging weather conditions.
The will be the first winter period where all four improved network maintenance contracts will be in place across the network, bringing increased quality and innovation to the winter service.
Enhanced patrol provision will be in place across the network, route specific snow plans have been updated with the help of our operating companies and Police Scotland, and salt barns are full with almost 436,000 tonnes ready for use – which is more than was used across both Scotland’s trunk and local roads during the whole of last winter.
- A record high 240 gritters available to spread salt and plough snow from 42 depots across the country – allowing for reserve spreaders to be in place to increase fleet resilience.
- Improved route specific snow plans for vulnerable and key locations, such as the M8, M74, M77 and M80, including the pre-deployment of gritters ahead of snowfall and enhanced patrols.
- Minimum salt stocks of 25,000 tonnes specified for each unit.
- Liquid brine treatments on footpaths around the trunk road network to improve accessibility and help active travel.
- The continuation of liquid de-icer trials on the M8.
- Improved technology on board patrol spreaders to monitor road conditions, including dashcams and mobile road condition sensors.
- A refreshed website for Traffic Scotland, making it easier for road users to get the information they need to plan their journeys.
Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said: “Our teams work hard throughout the year to ensure we are well prepared for the worst of the winter weather and this year is no different.
“This is the first winter where all of our operating companies will be working under improved network maintenance contracts – this means a record number of gritters operating enhanced patrol provisions across the trunk road network in Scotland.
“There is also an element of innovation to our winter service, which will see the continuation of liquid de-icer trials on the M8 and liquid brine treatments on footpaths around the trunk road network.
“My officials at Transport Scotland work closely with key partners like Police Scotland and the Met Office, but these relationships become even more important during winter and ensure we coordinate a quick and effective respond to weather events.
“We’re also asking motorists to make sure they’re prepared for winter themselves, getting vehicles ready for difficult conditions and following the best sources of information to help plan journeys ahead of time. Traffic Scotland provides the most up-to-date information on the trunk road network at its new website, along with its twitter page @trafficscotland and internet radio broadcasts. The ever popular gritter tracker is also back, so you can follow gritter patrols in your area.
“We can’t always predict the weather but we can put plans in place to help keep Scotland moving when the winter conditions move in.”
Police Scotland and the Met Office will have dedicated staff based at the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre in South Queensferry throughout the winter period to ensure close and effective working between the key partner agencies.
Superintendent Stewart Mackie, deputy head of road policing, said: “As we head into the winter months, it’s important to ensure vehicles and drivers are prepared for the change in road conditions.
“Simple steps can be taken such as plan ahead by checking Traffic Scotland’s website for any road closures or delays, ensure tyres have sufficient tread, check windscreen washer fluid levels and ensure your windscreen is completely clear before driving.
“As the nights get darker, pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders should ensure they are visible.
“More best practice for road users will be highlighted over the coming weeks as part of our winter road safety campaign.”
Met Office Markets Director Ian Cameron said: “The Met Office is delighted to be continuing our excellent relationship with Transport Scotland and partners through this winter and beyond.
“By providing the latest weather data and forecasts, our aim is help keep Scotland moving year-round and support you to make decisions through the winter to stay safe and thrive.
“Weather presents different challenges in different seasons and adverse winter weather can have implications for those managing and using the transport networks. Working together with Transport Scotland will help identify and mitigate these winter weather challenges.”
(Picture – Transport Scotland)