Typical winter day
We retain one of the largest winter service operations with around 43% of our network (1,700 miles) receiving precautionary salting (gritting) treatments when forecasted conditions indicate this is necessary.
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.
Prolonged snow and ice
Snow and ice clearance is undertaken in severe weather conditions. This activity is enhanced by the deployment of tractor plough contractors.
During difficult conditions we will be working around the clock to ensure routes identified within our primary and extended treatment networks are clear. Due to our resources being stretched during these times it is not possible for us to clear routes that have not been identified as part of our treatment networks and requests for ad hoc clearing will be assessed on an individual basis.
Strong winds during winter weather can severely impede our snow and ice clearing operations, these push and lift snow off adjacent land or fields and deposit this as snow drifts in low points which usually tend to be roads in rural areas and communities.
This can give the impression that certain routes have not been treated when in fact we have most likely already cleared the area of snow on a previous visit.
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Winter services policy
Winter service policy (270 KB)
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