The majority of precautionary salting around the county takes place via night shift operations. As the operatives on standby for night shift gritting are not available to undertake other usual highway maintenance tasks during the day such as pothole repairs and gully emptying, between October - April we have fewer crews during the day and therefore are not able to complete as many repairs to address road defects and other highway issues.
We receive daily weather forecasts from our forecast provider for the following 24-hour period at three stages through the day:
- Early morning - an initial forecast of likely conditions across Staffordshire for the period 12pm - 12am for the following day.
- At lunchtime - the main 24 hour forecast for the period 12pm - 12am giving an overview of worst case conditions within the nine climatic weather domains on which our treatment decisions are based.
- Early evening - an updated forecast for the remainder of the 24 hour forecast period.
We have the opportunity 24 hours a day 7 days a week during winter to speak with forecast providers.
Road surface temperatures are the basis on which treatments are undertaken. There is always the risk that salt may be washed off within a short period of time after being deposited but that should not preclude the treatment for forecasted winter hazards.
It is certainly not the case we wish to waste salt and it is only used to treat the network when conditions dictate we should do so.