17 Oct 2019

Changes to gritting routes

A fleet of gritting machines will return to the Island’s main routes this winter to keep conditions as safe as possible for motorists.

The Isle of Wight Council has published a gritting route map to help people identify those routes which will be treated in freezing conditions as part of its winter maintenance service.

More than 35 per cent of the Island’s total road network will continue to be treated this year — considerably more than the 25 per cent average for local authorities in the South East.

However, as part of the council’s 2019-20 budget savings, and following a full risk assessment, a number of roads have been removed from this year’s programme including the Military Road, Thorley and Wellow Main Roads, East Ashey Lane and Yaverland Road.

The route between Northwood and Shalfleet via Porchfield, and including Whitehouse Road to Vittlefields Cross, will be treated in the expectation of higher than normal traffic volumes using this route during the St Mary’s junction improvement works

Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, Councillor Ian Ward, said: “The council’s focus has to be on the Island’s primary routes – those carrying the highest volumes including key commuter routes — as it is not practical or economical to salt every road.

“Despite the need to make savings to set a balanced budget, we have ensured our arterial routes are covered to keep the Island moving in times of snow and ice. We will continue to monitor the situation and, should the need arise, carry out bespoke gritting where necessary.

“We will also continue to treat pavements in town centre locations in snowy conditions.”

Island Roads, which deliver the winter service on behalf of the council, typically run the service from November until the end of March, however the company began its close monitoring of the network conditions at the start of October to ensure that any abnormally cold spell could be responded to if required.

They have also taken delivery of around 1,600 tonnes of salt, a comparable amount to previous years, in readiness for the winter season.

Later this month the company will also begin its annual Autumn Parade when all the winter fleet of vehicles and equipment are re-tested, and drivers ride out in the gritting vehicles to familiarise themselves with the new routes.

Councillor Ward added: “Please take extra care when driving in dangerous conditions, especially if the roads are icy or frosty, or if it’s snowing.

“Always drive according to the conditions. Just because a road has been gritted doesn’t mean it is safe to drive at normal speeds in poor weather conditions.

“While we do everything we can to keep traffic moving during severe winter weather, it is important for drivers to drive with caution and consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary.

“I’d urge road users to visit http://www.islandroads.com/27-winter-service-.html which features a winter maintenance map highlighting the routes which will be salted in the event of ice and snow.”

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Factfile
  • The Isle of Wight Council has published a gritting route map to help people identify those routes which will be treated in freezing conditions as part of its winter maintenance service
  • More than 35 per cent of the Island’s total road network will continue to be treated this year — considerably more than the 25 per cent average for local authorities in the South East
  • As part of the council’s 2019-20 budget savings, and following a full risk assessment, a number of roads have been removed from this year’s programme
 
Isle of Wight, UK