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Winter gritting


Footpaths/cycletracks and Borough Towns/district centres that will be treated when frost is forecast are the defined footway routes at the following locations:

Adopted footpaths in Telford Town centre.

Footpaths serving the main shopping areas of:

  • Wellington
  • Dawley
  • Madeley
  • Newport
  • Ironbridge
  • Oakengates.

In the event of prolonged snow or ice footway/cycletracks will be treated in a priority order. The order starts with town centres and local district centres.

Our team of winter maintenance officers assess the weather forecast over a 24 hour period to decide what action is necessary. Our main priority is to keep major routes treated and passable to protect road users during poor weather.

To be most effective, the gritting should take place before ice forms or snow settles. Anticipating these conditions, and reacting correctly, depends on a mixture of local knowledge and experience, good local weather forecasts and an awareness of the current road condition e.g. is it wet, dry, previously treated or not etc. 

The Council receives two weather forecasts on a daily basis - a 24 hour forecast and a 2 to 5 day forecast. The 24 hours forecast is updated if there are any changes. In addition to this, a morning and early evening summary are also sent by MetDesk.

Visit the Met Office website for weather updates.

The Council also has two weather stations, one at Horsehay and one at Crudgington. There are sensors contained within the road adjacent to the stations, providing surface and air temperatures and other useful meteorological information. You can view this information by clicking on the following link below. Enabled sites are shown in green and by clicking on a site more information is given:

Visit the Traffic Weather website.

This information is also provided to the Council in a more detailed format. To see an example of the information we use please download the sample graph from one of the coldest days of the winter in the borough.

Although most of us call it gritting there is in fact often no grit involved.  What we spread on the roads is rock salt taken from an underground mine in Cheshire.

It is more or less the same as the rock salt you would grind into your food, but of a size and composition for road use.

We spread salt directly onto the road at a rate of 10 grams per square metre when frost is forecast or 20 grams per square metre when snow is forecast. This works best when goes into a solution, which is why we rely on the tyres of cars passing over the top of it to crush the salt onto the road. This then forms a solution with a higher de-icing capability.

Water freezes at 0ºC, but salt stops water from freezing until -6º to -8ºC. 

Salt will melt snow at temperatures as low as -20ºC. However, salt starts to become less effective at -5ºC.  As a result, its use becomes practically, economically and environmentally difficult. In extremely low temperatures, or heavy snowfall, a mix of salt and grit may be used to aid traction.

The salt stock at the beginning of the winter season is around 2700 tonnes which under normal circumstances is our average winter usage. We have a contract with Compass Minerals who replenish salt stocks during the winter season.

Should weather conditions deteriorate to such an extent that gritting is required around the clock, four times in twenty four hours, then by maintaining these stock levels it will allow us to grit continuously for up to 16 days.  The DFT national recommendations are that councils should keep a stock of salt equivalent to the minimum of 12 days continuous gritting.

Although we are prepared to deal with severe weather conditions we are dependent on delivery of supplies.  Therefore, should those supplies be reduced by circumstance beyond our control, gritting routes may be reduced on rare occasions to cover only the primary routes.

Primary routes:

  • A and B roads
  • Roads serving fire, ambulance and police establishments
  • Main bus routes in the following centres: Telford Town Centre, Dawley, Madeley, Newport, Oakengates and Wellington
  • Access roads to transport interchanges.

If we do impose restrictions it is likely that national restrictions will be in place.

Download the Winter Service Policy Statement.

Last updated: 15/03/2021 14:13

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