Highways teams remain on full alert to treat Hampshire’s roads ahead of any cold snap, constantly monitoring local weather forecasts, road and air conditions to see when and where the salting lorries are needed.
Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said:
We’ve had a relatively mild winter so far – with the winter fleet needing to go out only 17 times. Highways teams, however, remain ready 24/7 over the Christmas period to go out whenever they’re needed to ensure the county’s roads are clear.
Salt barns across the county are fully stocked with around 25,000 tonnes of salt, and 3000 community salt bins are also filled and ready to use if needed.
Hampshire’s 5,300 miles of roads are salted on a priority basis. ‘Priority One’ routes carry the majority of Hampshire’s traffic and include A roads, some B roads, major bus routes, roads to major emergency services such as hospitals, large schools and colleges, areas of high traffic concentration and public transport interchanges.
If we get a wet instead of a white Christmas in Hampshire, we’re prepared for that. We have a new fleet of gully emptiers this winter which can suck silt from up to 30m deep, and are currently testing out some new gully sensors which can tell us where the flooding ‘hot spots’ are.
Ditch clearing and maintenance work is carried out on Hampshire’s 60,000 gullies and 4,600 catchpits throughout the year, and continued structural improvements to the drainage system make Hampshire more resilient to the effects of extreme weather.
Councillor Humby added:
Everyone can help in their own communities during the winter. If its cold and icy, remember that the salt in the blue or yellow bins is there for community use for people to spread on public roads or pavements. This is useful for areas which aren’t covered by the main salting routes such as smaller access roads.
While highways teams take care of gullies in the roadsides, ditches on private land also need to be clear for water to run off the roads, particularly during periods of heavy and intense rainfall. While flooding can’t be completely prevented, making sure ditches on private land are clear of leaves, vegetation and other debris will help prevent localised flooding after heavy rainfall.
Please drive safely during the winter as conditions can be more difficult. RoSPA has some helpful winter driving tips