Gritters ready to work through the night in South Tyneside this Christmas

Billy Mitchell, a charge hand in the council's Winter Maintenance Team, and his son David Mitchell.
Billy Mitchell, a charge hand in the council's Winter Maintenance Team, and his son David Mitchell.

An army of gritters are ready to work through the night this Christmas and throughout the winter to keep roads in South Tyneside safe.

South Tyneside Council’s Winter Maintenance Team will also deal with any emergencies on the borough’s roads during the night.

We work to keep South Tyneside’s highways open to make sure people stay safe and can still get out to see their loved ones at Christmas

David Mitchell

The team will work to maintain South Tyneside’s 160 grit bins, which are used to help clear hazardous areas in the event of snow or ice, and grit the borough’s 311km of priority routes.

They will also repond to any highways emergency call-outs.

David Mitchell is one who will be working nights this Christmas, and he said: “On a night, we can be gritting the roads, cleaning out gullies, attending road traffic accidents or, if the weather has been particularly bad, clearing up debris from the borough’s roads.

“We work to keep South Tyneside’s highways open to make sure people stay safe and can still get out to see their loved ones at Christmas.

“If I am not called back out, after my night shift on Christmas Eve, I stay up to watch my kids unwrap their presents.

“I usually grab some sleep before my wife puts out the Christmas dinner and we celebrate with the family before I head back out on my next shift.”

He added: “Christmas is special, but it is also important to keep the borough moving, especially at this time of year when people travel more to visit family and friends.

“I really enjoy my work. All of the team work hard to ensure that the job gets done and is carried out to a high standard.

“It is also a pleasure to work alongside my dad, who is also a member of the team and has been working at the council for 25 years. We work nights together and it’s nice to get to spend Christmas with him at work.”

The team will be on call throughout the Christmas period, ready to respond day or night to emergencies.

Coun Ed Malcolm, lead member for resources and innovation, said: “I would like to pay tribute to all our staff who continue to provide vital services over the Christmas period and who dedicate their time to the people of South Tyneside at this special time of year.

“It is these people who ensure the borough’s roads are well maintained and are cleared in bad weather.

“They are fully prepared for any weather forecast over the Christmas period and ready to respond to a winter emergency.

“Our staff are dedicated to clearing our priority routes first and we would ask residents for patience during periods of extreme cold weather.

“The council is committed to doing our very best to keep South Tyneside moving.”