Island Roads will prepare its winter maintenance fleet for any cold weather ahead with a series of activities at the weekend.
As a result, road users may see the Island’s gritting vehicles out and about on the network on Saturday – when temperatures will be well above zero.
“People shouldn’t think that we are in for an unexpected cold snap, it is all part of our annual ‘Autumn Parade’ during which we make sure the fleet and crews are ready for any challenges ahead,” said Dave Wallis, Island Roads operations manager.
“During the day we will be briefing the drivers on latest health and safety updates, testing all the fleet in the depot and then driving the routes so drivers can familiarise themselves with the runs.”
The gritting routes covered this year are agreed by the Isle of Wight Council and are the same as in recent years. The emphasis remains on treating the strategic network (main roads) and the routes that connect towns. Maps of these area routes can be found on the following link https://islandroads.com/winter-service/
Last year there were 23 runs using 423 tonnes of salt. That compares to 26 runs using 494 tonnes in the winter of 2018/19. The salt store at the Stag Lane winter maintenance depot on the outskirts of Newport is replenished each year to hold reserves of 1,600 tonnes – well above what would be used on even an exceptionally severe winter.
A decision whether to run is taken based on specialist weather forecasts, our own observations and taking into account readings from two weather stations on the Island at Brading Down and on the Middle Road. These two stations represent one of the highest points on the Island and one of the lowest.
Island Roads is keen to remind motorists that even when roads have been treated, motorists should take extra care when driving in freezing or near freezing weather. Treated roads will still ice over in extremely cold weather while grit/salt requires vehicular movements to make it most effective.
Further advice on driving in freezing conditions can be found via the following link https://www.theaa.com/driving-advice/seasonal/winter