SNOW and ice has already hit East Durham – and Durham County Council chiefs say they are ready for the worst this winter.
Council workers are preparing for the winter months by taking numerous measures to keep the area moving.
More than 42,000 tonnes of salt is ready for the cold spells and 10 new vehicles have been added to the council’s fleet of 40 power gritters.
Contract arrangements have also been struck with farmers to help with snow clearing, should extra equipment be required.
The council are taking the steps after the area was hit by severe winter weather over the last few years.
It also comes in response to the outcomes of service reviews as well as feedback from local communities.
Councillor Bob Young, cabinet member for strategic environment, said: “We have already seen the start of the winter weather.
“As temperatures continue to drop we are trying hard to ensure that we are as prepared as possible for any further bad weather this coming winter might bring.
“With County Durham having so many scattered rural communities, we face particular challenges in the winter and we want to do everything we can to keep the county moving.”
A winter maintenance plan sets out how Durham County Council has prepared for snow and icy weather.
The plan is reviewed and updated on an annual basis and last year a number of new measures were incorporated.
As well as the new vehicles and the heavy salt supply, there will be five snow blowers ready for if the roads need to be cleared of snow following a heavy fall.
The council also plans to continue to treat, or pre-salt, 45 per cent of the highways network across the county. These priority routes typically include all A roads, most B roads, most bus routes, and other locations that are know to the council as problem areas.
Footpaths are not usually treated during normal overnight frosty conditions.
However, following heavy snowfall the council hopes to endeavour to clear footpaths in priority areas.
Town centres and busy shopping centres, hospitals, health centres, doctors surgeries and care homes will be treated first as the priority
With public safety in mind ,the council’s website will offer daily winter-weather updates, including details on which roads are closed, or passable with care, and tips for driving.
To report any problems with the roads and highways contact the action line on (0191) 370 6000.