Gritting

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Our teams are on stand by to work on the roads and help Gloucestershire get through winter, whatever the weather throws at us. Our fleet of 29 gritting vehicles makes sure main routes across the county are safe to drive.

When do we grit?

Our core winter period is from October to April. We decide when to carry out precautionary salting using:

  • regular weather forecasts available to Gloucestershire by MeteoGroup
  • computerised ice prediction system which compares forecast conditions against actual road temperatures measured at 12 weather stations around the county
  • the local knowledge of staff to judge when to best carry out precautionary salting.

Even if freezing temperatures are predicted, there may be no need for precautionary salting if:

  • there is enough salt left on the road from the previous run
  • no rain has fallen and roads are dry, as ice will not form.

We aim to have all work completed before ice would form on road surfaces. Depending on the forecast, sometimes we may carry out more than one salt run in 24-hour period. Our main decision indicator is the road temperature, not the air temperature.

What do we use?

GCC uses rock salt and mixes this with grit when required. We currently have 29 gritters and all have snow ploughs available.

Where do we grit?

When icy road conditions are forecast precautionary salting will be carried out on the strategic road network which is made up of:

  • Class A and B roads
  • Roads leading to main hospitals, ambulance stations, police stations and fire stations
  • Some strategic public transport routes
  • Roads serving main shopping centres
  • Roads leading to the majority of secondary schools

The strategic road network covers approximately 29% of Gloucestershire’s total roads. We also refer to this road network as our "primary" or "key" routes. These routes are reviewed on an annual basis.

During prolonged severe winter weather conditions, when time allows and resources are available, salting may also be carried out on the secondary road network.

We expect that each salting route will take approximately three hours to complete. All routes are done simultaneously - check out the map below:

Gritting routes map

Switch on the map layers required, then click on the road for more details


Full screen map

GCC cannot accept responsibility for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused by the use of or reliance on this information.

Safety

Although we make great efforts to keep roads clear in winter, never assume that a road will be free from ice. This is because:

  • salt can have a limited effect in severe cold conditions
  • high winds or rain can remove salt from road surfaces before temperatures fall
  • many minor roads do not get salted

Please adjust your speed accordingly. When you spot our gritters on the road, feel free to give them a wave, however if you are driving, please do leave extra room between you and the gritter especially whilst it’s spreading salt.

Snow clearance

Snow can take much longer to clear than ice. As with salting, roads will be treated in order of importance, starting with priority routes. We also work in partnership with local parish council Snow Wardens and Snow Plough Operators to establish local weather conditions and, where resources are available, arrange for snow clearance on local roads. Snow Wardens are volunteers normally appointed by parish councils. If you wish to become a Snow Warden, please speak to your parish council for more details.

Treatment of footways and cycleways

Whilst some precautionary treatment of footways and cycleway would be desirable, the complexity of treating footways and cycleways by mechanical or manual methods and the level of available resource to achieve winter operations means that precautionary treatment can't be done.

At the discretion of the Gloucestershire County Council, and if time and resources allow, we may do reactive treatments during periods of heavy snow or prolonged freezing temperatures at high priority locations following inspections or reports from the police.

Some communities have their local Snow Warden or Snow Plough operator, who might be able to co-ordinate the treatment. Each community will have different availabilities and their plans reflect this and their commitment when resources are available.

It’s not true that you can be sued if you clear ice or snow outside of your home.

See our ‘self-help’ snow clearing guide for more information.

Salt stock and grit bins

Grit bins are provided by Gloucestershire Highway at strategic locations or by town and parish councils at agreed locations. There are over 4,800 grit bins for the public to use. We will refill grit bins before each winter season and encourage town and parish councils to hold stocks of bagged salt to replenish bins within season and treat local problem areas if local resources are available. 

The salt in the bins is intended for use on the public highway only. Bins are located where they are for a specific reason. Please do not use grit from these bins to clear your own driveways or paths - we only have limited salt stocks, and you may be prosecuted if caught using salt for private purposes.

Requesting a bin

New grit bins are not provided by GCC apart from some strategic locations, however bins can be provided by the local parish or town councils if the location is agreed in writing by Highways.

Frequently asked questions

You can email us (highways@gloucestershire.gov.uk) if a grit bin is empty, or has been vandalised. Please provide the exact location, name of road, any landmarks and the grit bin number (if it has one).

Gloucestershire County Council will refill grit bins before each winter season and encourage town and parish councils to hold stocks of bagged salt to replenish bins within season and treat local problem areas if local resources are available. Every summer we ask your local town or parish council if they need more salt for bins. You should contact your local town or parish council to see if they have more.

Help your local community by using the grit bins provided to help keep pavements and side roads clear. Use a spade or shovel to spread the salt evenly and thinly across the pavement.

The amount of salt required to treat an area is much less than you might think. As a guide 20g/m² (about a heaped tablespoon) should be sufficient to clear and protect a 1m2 area of footway or carriageway surface. Spreading too much salt can have a detrimental effect on the environment and is also a waste of salt.

Please do not use grit from these bins to clear your own driveways or paths - we only have limited salt stocks, and you may be prosecuted if caught stealing salt for private use.

For more information see Gov.uk tips for keeping pavements and public spaces clear of ice and snow.

Read our ‘self-help’ snow clearing guide

We no longer place heaps of loose salt on the roadside due to environmental reasons. Salt could be damaging to grass, trees and water course. 

You can purchase your own salt/grit from the most DIY stores or even supermarkets. We recommend to do this before the winter season – during the winter, stocks may be limited. See our ‘self-help’ snow clearing guide for more information.

Hoar frost is a type of feathery frost that forms as a result of specific climatic conditions.

Black ice is the same as regular ice. It is a glaze that forms on top of roads and pavements when there is light freezing or melting and re-freezing water on the surfaces. It is called “black ice” as it is often camouflaged and looks the same as the road’s surface, making it hard to spot before you walk or drive on it.

 

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