South Tyneside in ‘grit’ shape to handle big freeze

DIGGING IN ... Coun Tracey Dixon with the borough's road salt stockpile.
DIGGING IN ... Coun Tracey Dixon with the borough's road salt stockpile.

COUNCIL chiefs in South Tyneside will be digging in to keep the traffic moving in adverse weather this winter.

Starting with a stockpile of 8,000 tonnes of salt, council workers have already been in action pre-salting priority routes when temperatures have dropped.

Gritting operations focus on major roads, bus routes and steep banks, as well as priority footpaths in shopping areas, around schools, steps and footbridges.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We have a well-developed winter maintenance plan in place, to prepare for any cold snaps we experience over the coming months.

“This involves working closely with Northumbria Police and other emergency services, and receiving regular weather updates to ensure our teams can react quickly to any sudden changes in weather conditions.

“We have already used more than 300 tonnes to keep our key priority routes clear of ice and our dedicated team is ready to work around the clock if necessary, to keep the borough moving and to maintain public safety.”

South Tyneside Council operates a permanent night shift from November to the end of March, and has a fleet of four gritting wagons and one towable gritter.

There are also six pedestrian-operated salt spreaders and 30 hand salters for hard-to-reach footway areas that main gritters can’t reach.

The council also maintains more than 160 grit bins across the borough that are used to help clear footpaths, shopping areas and anywhere which may be hazardous to the public in the event of snow and ice.

Gritting the borough’s 311km of priority routes takes around two-and-a-half hours, but the benef,its of rock salt depends to a great extent on moving traffic to make it work effectively.

For further information about gritting routes and grit bin location, go to www.southtyneside.info or call 427 7000.

The latest weather updates are available at www.metoffice.gov.uk

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