We make sure that all primary routes in Medway are gritted to help prevent ice from forming to keep you moving on the roads in severe winter weather.
Our preparations include:
- 5,000 tonnes of salt stockpiled
- 8 salting vehicles
- 455 salt bins
- 4x4 vehicles available to reach those in more rural areas
From mid-October to mid-April our contractor is on standby to grit the primary routes whenever ice, frost or snow are expected. Throughout this period Duty Officers look at weather forecasts and other data to decide whether gritting is required. Staff are on call 24 hours a day so that they can react quickly to changing weather conditions.
How we determine if a main roads need to be gritted
We get forecasts from the MetDesk Ltd, which are specifically compiled for Kent’s roads. These are received daily and show when road surfaces are likely to fall below freezing during the following 24 hours. The aim is to grit the primary routes before ice, frost or snow forms. This is planned well in advance but sometimes it is necessary to react under emergency conditions to deal with unpredictable weather.
How roads are gritted
Our contractor supplies all equipment and labour, using 8 winter service vehicles to complete a gritting run covering the primary routes. It takes a maximum of 2 hours to grit all of the primary routes. Under emergency conditions, the vehicles can be mobilised within 1 hour.
Rock salt is used, which has been crushed down to a 6mm size. This is dissolved by moisture on the road surface and lowers the freezing point. The action of traffic helps this process to take place. However, in certain circumstances, salting will not prevent ice or frost forming. This is usually when roads are very wet and the salt becomes diluted. The amount of salt put down and the frequency of gritting can be increased but even this may not prevent icy patches.