Gritting lorries now on standby in Northamptonshire for six months of 24-hour cover

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Gritting lorries are now on standby in Northamptonshire as the winter season officially started this weekend.

In Northamptonshire a total of 1,198 miles of road receives precautionary gritting when required – the same distance as between London and Rome.

Roughly 12,000 tonnes of gritting salt has been stocked-up at three depots around the county in preparation with 29 gritting trucks at the ready.

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Councillor Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “Keeping the county moving over the winter months is a huge task and the positive comments that we have received from our residents show that we are improving our service each year.

“There’s never any telling just what sort of winter we’re going to get – we just have to be ready to tackle what nature throws at us.

“The gritting team do a tremendous job keeping the county moving during the winter, with 24-hour monitoring between the months of October and April.”

Weather forecasts are received from the Meteo Group and local knowledge of the network used to work out what the likelihood of frost or snow is.

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If necessary, the situation will be monitored on an hour-by-hour basis before making decisions to send crews out to salt the roads. There are also seven weather stations so that road conditions can be monitored.

Northamptonshire Highways plan the service to ensure villages are linked to priority routes. Priority is given to those roads carrying the highest volume of traffic and where the risk of accidents is greatest, a spokesman said.

"In addition, certain local roads such as those serving industrial areas, shopping centres and some key roads in towns and rural areas are also salted," the spokesman added.

"In prolonged, adverse weather conditions, that is where the forecast conditions are unlikely to improve for at least 48 hours and the temperature is not expected to rise above freezing within that period, an additional 359 miles of roads will be treated provided that roads on the precautionary salting network do not require treatment.

"In the event of snowfall, roads will be cleared according to their priority status and need," he said.

Gritting updates are available at @NNhighways.