Making grittin’ great again

08 Nov 2017

As the county heads into winter, the council’s cutting-edge fleet of salt spreaders are back on the region’s roads.

Last year the authority bought seven new state-of-the-art gritters to increase its fleet which cover thousands of miles each year. Costing more than £100,000 each, the hi-tech machines help ensure the county stays open for business, whatever the weather.

This year the process has become even more streamlined, thanks to technology developments over the past 12 months.

During last winter the council thermally mapped and updated all the current primary gritting routes within Northumberland.

This was carried out using differing extremes of conditions. Over the summer months the highly detailed information has been extracted and a completely new thermal map of the primary gritting routes has been produced.

This will help staff determine which routes will need to be treated and when, taking into account detailed weather forecasts and actual weather station data to further strengthen the accuracy of the decision making process.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet member for Environment and Local Services, said: “With thousands of miles of roads in the county, our workforce is always well prepared to meet the challenges of winter weather.

“We have an extremely professional and dedicated team committed to keeping our roads safe for which I am very grateful.

“Thankfully we have access to some state-of-the-art equipment which is developing every year so we can establish exactly where needs gritting and at what level.

“This is particularly useful in Northumberland as the geography of our county presents unique challenges where it can be snowing over the tops but bright sunshine at the coast.

“And these days all the gritters are fitted with tracking devices to ensure their location is known at all times – providing an extra level of safety especially for those working in more rural areas.”


The winter in numbers:
100+ staff including managers, supervisors and drivers
37,000 tonnes of salt in place ready to be used
28 multi-purpose gritting vehicles
Two purpose-built snow blowers and five gully tankers
1,600 grit bins and 200 grit heaps
Over 3,000 miles of county road

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