Fenland waterside roads will remain a priority as county reviews its B road gritting
WATERSIDE roads in Fenland will remain a priority for gritting despite new measures announced today in Cambridgeshire to conserve gritting stocks. The county council says the prolonged spell of winter weather, a national shortage of salt and government in
WATERSIDE roads in Fenland will remain a priority for gritting despite new measures announced today in Cambridgeshire to conserve gritting stocks.
The county council says the prolonged spell of winter weather, a national shortage of salt and government instructions to reduce the amount of road treatment nationally has meant a review of its gritting operation.
Cambridgeshire will now only grit 'A' roads and a priority network of 'B' roads as well as waterside roads, such as those next to drains in the Fens and hospital access. This will continue until sufficient new deliveries of rock salt can be secured.
A list of what is being gritted can be found on Cambridgeshire County Council's website at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk . The routes which are normally treated but are now not being gritted will also be on the site from tomorrow.
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Drivers are being asked to take extra care during these times and not to expect all the roads that would normally be gritted to be treated.
In addition they are asked to watch out for pot holes that are occurring as a result of the freeze and thaw action of the weather.
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The county council started the winter season with around 9,000 tons of rock salt stockpiled and ready to use - an increase of nearly 50 per cent on previous years. Cambridgeshire's storage facilities were filled to capacity.
A spokesman said: "There are only two national suppliers of rock salt who are trying to meet the needs of authorities across the country, and sources in other countries are also being used.
"The county council, like all other authorities, is part of a new national system that has been set up to make sure authorities running low on grit are prioritised. This means that deliveries that would normally come to Cambridgeshire are being sent to councils which have nearly run out.
"The government has also ordered all local authorities across the country to cut the amount of rock salt they spread by 25 per cent to help conserve supplies and to ensure that high priority roads continue to be treated."
So far Cambridgeshire County Council's fleet of 38 gritters have been out 35 times in the last 21 days times, and the current cold spell is expected to last for several more days at least.
The council is constantly monitoring its rocksalt stocks and actively looking for new supplies.
Bad weather is set to continue over the next few days and all road and path users are asked to take extra care. Anyone considering travelling is advised to check for the latest information with their travel provider, to check the weather forecast for their area and to allow extra time for their journey.
Mark Kemp, Director of Highways and Access, for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "Like many local authorities across the country we need to carefully manage our rock salt stocks so that we can grit as much as possible.
"Nationally a system is in place which means deliveries of rock salt are now going to more badly hit authorities. This means we can no longer rely on those deliveries and have to prioritise the routes we do to make sure we have enough salt to keep people on the move while at the same time last until we get more stocks. In addition the government has ordered a reduction in the mount of grit we can spread.
"Road safety is paramount to us which is why we are also making sure waterside roads are included in the revised runs. People must drive and ride to the conditions and not expect roads which are normally treated to have been gritted. This is a difficult decision but with only four or five days of gritting left, uncertainty of delivery and an uncertain weather forecast we have to take these practical steps.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Mac McGuire, Cabinet Member for Highways and Access, said: "Councils across the country have been affected by the bad weather and the shortage of rock salt and are making the same hard decisions to conserve stocks while at the same time still treating as much of the highway network as often as possible."
Cambridgeshire currently has around 800 tons of rock salt left and further supplies due to be delivered over the weekend are now expected tomorrow (Tuesday).
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