Busy time for town’s gritters

Hartlepool Borough Council salt barn on Brenda Road.
Hartlepool Borough Council salt barn on Brenda Road.

GRITTING teams have spend around 80 hours in the last week keeping the roads safe for motorists.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s gritting fleet has been working flat-out since last Saturday when the town was hit by snow and freezing temperatures plunging as low as -7C.

Mike Blair, the council’s highways, traffic and transport manager, said the ice and snow has seen the fleet out on the town’s roads for up to 12 hours a day and some days carrying out two runs of the town.

He told the Mail: “The snow is the biggest problem that we get because when it falls at nigh it lays on the top of the salt until vehicles track it in.

“People think we haven’t done any gritting when we have, but it takes cars going over it to make it work.

“We often then follow it up with further runs.”

The freezing temperatures have seen snow form into thick ice, leading the council to prioritise operations where workers in the authority’s neighbourhood teams have been gritting around shopping areas and near to the likes of care homes.

Mr Blair said: “We do try to prioritise around shopping areas and old peoples’ homes and our neighbourhood gangs have been out in these kinds of areas.”

Council bosses say they have ample stocks of grit in reserve at its depot as the authority stores around 1,500 tonnes of road salt in its reserve.

And the council has good access to get further deliveries from the Boulby Pot Ash, in Redcar, allowing the the salt barn to be continually re-stocked.

The first priority roads include the A689, York Road, Stockton Road and Catcote Road, with second priority being more minor roads around town. Teams spread salt around three hours before roads are expected to freeze.

Durham County Council has updated its winter maintenance plan to prepare for snow and icy weather that has seen the council store more than 42,000 tonnes of salt.

The council treats 45 per cent of the highways network across the county, including in Peterlee and East Durham.

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.