Gritters out on roads of North Somerset as artic conditions to grip the south west

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By Prue_Reid | Friday, January 11, 2013, 12:36

GRITTERS have been out salting the roads of North Somerset ahead of artic conditions gripping the district. North Somerset Council's fleet of six gritters were out salting the roads on Wednesday and Thursday night as temperatures started to plummet. Further salting of the district's road network is planned for this weekend as forecasters warn icy conditions are set to hit the south west. Highways teams have carried out a full grit of the roads twice already this week which covered 29.2 per cent - 200 miles - of North Somerset's road network and used 41 tonnes of salt. The specialist lorries drop salt at 20 grams per square metre and 30 tonnes of salt - the weight of more than four empty double decker London buses - is used each night. Each lorry has a tracking system providing data about its location, how much salt it has dispersed and how fast it travelled. Salting is kept mainly to priority routes including the A370, A369 and the A38, but other roads can be treated if deemed necessary. As well as the main salting, contractors also treat '********s' on main routes where there is a risk that surface water will turn into ice. Staff are now gearing up for further salting of the district's roads following forecasts temperatures will continue to plummet and snow could hit the region on Saturday. A decision on whether to salt the roads is based on the temperatures rather than air temperatures. Special devices are fitted into the road surface to monitor the road temperatures and the council gets detailed reports from the Met Office when severe weather is expected. A decision on whether to salt the roads is taken on a daily basis. North Somerset Council spokesman Nick Yates, said: "Our gritters are on stand by and we will be monitoring the weather situation and responding as we need to. "A judgement on road gritting is made on a day to day basis." "We are gearing up to go out at the weekend." North Somerset Council has tripled its salt and now has 2,000 tonnes stored in a new warehouse at Sandford. They say the supplies of salt will be enough to get the authority through an 'average' winter and that by upping its own stocks, North Somerset will be less reliant on the national supply chain.

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