13 October 2023
West Northamptonshire’s fleet of gritters will be deployed this week to prepare the roads for winter, with the Met Office forecasting a cold snap is on its way.
With a sharp decline in temperature across Northamptonshire expected towards the end of October, precautionary gritting routes are now underway. West Northamptonshire Council’s highways provider, Kier is set to grit over 1,100 miles of the road network - the equivalent of driving from here to Venice.
West Northamptonshire has a stockpile of over 5,500 tonnes of salt ready to use on public roads and foot paths over the winter months. More than 880 grit bins have also been filled.
Met Office reports have shown that due to an El Niño weather pattern, a term for when the sea surface temperature warms every few years, the UK is headed for greater snowfall this winter – with the first of the UK’s snowfall predicted for this week.
By working together with Kier, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure that our roads are kept safe for our communities as we enter the winter months – and prepare for the cold snap ahead. Our 12-strong fleet of gritters are set to head out on the network from this weekend when required.Cllr Phil Larratt, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste at West Northamptonshire Council
As the cold weather approaches, this can cause a major impact on our roads and an increase in road defects and potholes. We will continue to work with Kier to ensure these are resolved as quickly as possible, and advise all residents to report any road defects via our website with location details and photos so we can resolve this.
The council is targeted in its approach – and has designed routes based on high-quality weather forecasting and real-time temperature readings, through weather stations and sensors along West Northamptonshire’s roads.
Through route-based forecasting, roads will be treated if the temperatures are forecasted to drop below 0.5C.
The fleet of gritters will also all have names this year, thanks to the creative thinking of local schoolchildren, meaning trucks named Pretty Gritty, RoadZipper and Gritzilla will be among those helping to keep our roads safe this winter.
We are proactively planning for the predicted weather conditions this winter. Our crews are on standby 24/7 during the winter months, as we work to keep road conditions safe and quickly respond to any changing weather conditions. We will be mobilising our gritting fleet, which have all been named by local primary school pupils, in trial routes this weekend.John Coombes, general manager at Kier Transportation
We urge road users to be vigilant – as even once a road has received a gritting treatment, the salt requires activation from the movement of vehicles and drivers should take extra care. We also actively encourage feedback from the community to help us to continue to deliver a resilient and reliable service.
As stocks run low, people can also report bins that need refilling.
To find out more about the precautionary and adverse gritting routes and other useful winter service information.
People can keep up to date with highways and travel news for West Northamptonshire Council highways on Twitter and Facebook via @WNHighways.