Icy conditions are predicted over the next 24 hours.
With low temperatures expected this evening, Wednesday, January 5, and snow forecast for tomorrow, South Tyneside Council has been pre-gritting the borough’s priority routes to help keep traffic moving.
Operations focus on major roads, bus routes and steep banks, as well as priority footpaths in shopping areas, around schools and on steps and footbridges to proitect pedestrians.
Priority routes cover more 311kms of carriageway and take around 2.5 hours to treat with salt.
But while work is under way, drivers are still being encouraged to take extra care and drive according to the conditions.
Coun Ernest Gibson is the council’s Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety: “We have plans in place to deal with this type of weather to help keep residents safe and to reduce the impact on our communities as much as we can,” he said.
“Officers from across the council and South Tyneside Homes react quickly to any sudden changes in temperatures and are focused on keeping priority routes clear. They work in difficult conditions clearing snow and ice to ensure walkways are safe for the public to use and so that vulnerable people can get out and about safely.
“We always pre-salt our priority routes ahead of ice and snow coming, with runs triggered by advance weather forecasts from the Meteogroup – though it is important to note that the effect of rock salt depends to a great extent on moving traffic to make it work effectively – it is not an immediate fix.
“Our highways maintenance team will continue to clear roads and footpaths of snow and ice for as long as is needed to keep disruption to a minimum, which is good news for households, communities, school runs and businesses.”
He appealed for patience if it took time to clear more minor roads:"We would like to remind people that we must clear our planned routes first and would ask for patience during these times.”
South Tyneside Council operates a night shift from November 1 to March 31and has a fleet of five gritting wagons. There are also three pedestrian-operated salt spreaders and 20 hand salters for hard-to-reach footway areas.
The council also maintains more than 200 grit bins that are used to help clear footpaths, shopping centres and anywhere which may be hazardous to the public in the event of ice and snow.
These bins are available across the borough to assist staff in their gritting operations and are not for private use.
Motorists are advised to check the local weather forecasts and information websites.
For further details about gritting routes, grit bin locations and a wide range of winter-related advice and information, visit South Tyneside Council’s website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/winterweather or call the Customer Contact Centre on 427 7000.
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The latest weather updates are available at www.metoffice.gov.uk
For up to the minute public transport information visit www.nexus.org.uk