Nine new Econ gritters have been purchased this year to replace ageing ones in Suffolk Highways’ fleet.
A further 29 gritters have been upgraded since the contract between Kier MG and the county council began, significantly improving the winter service provided across the county.
Suffolk Highways has 39 gritters each with an attachable snow plough and three ‘mini-gritters’ which are designed for areas with weight restrictions, for example bridges.
In addition, as part of the highways contract, Kier MG can call on additonal vehicles, should they be required.
There are 112 operators ready to help keep the county moving when temperatures drop and when there is snowfall.
There are 1225 miles of priority one gritting routes which are treated in advance of predicted ice or snow. There are 34 priority one gritting routes taking two and a half hours to complete.
When ice or snow is forecast to persist beyond 9am, a further 845 miles of priority two routes will be treated, so long as gritters are not needed on the priority one roads.
Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads, transport and planning, said: “Although last year was not particularly cold the significant levels of rain fall caused the same, if not more, damage to the road network as extremely cold temperature.
“This was recognised by the Government and as a result Suffolk recieved almost £6million in additional funding to help make the necessary repairs.
“As well as making improvements to the road network across the county, Suffolk Highways is well prepared to deal with whatever rain, ice and snow that this winter brings.”
Decisions on whether to grit or not are based on information received about predicted road surface temperature which can be different to the air temperature, the latter being those that are generally reported on standard weather forecasts.
On average gritters are out on the network 60 times during the winter period
Further useful information about being prepared for winter can be found on the county council’s website: www.suffolk.gov.uk/winter-are-you-prepared