winter maintenance 2014/15
Winter Roads Maintenance (gritting)
The Roads Service reviewed the gritting of Shetland’s roads in 2012. A number of changes to the gritting service were approved by Council following this review. The most significant of these changes and their likely affect on road users are detailed below.
Why were these changes made?
Across the Council, services were being asked to make significant savings to ensure that their operations are effective, appropriate and sustainable into the future. The review team spent several months looking at how the gritting service was run, and how to deliver it in an aseffective, inexpensive and targeted a way as possible in future. The revisions to the winter service have saved in the region of £370,000 per year. Priorities are to maintain the service to a reasonable standard, reduce costs, and reduce carbon emissions wherever possible.
How weree services changed?
A number of changes were made which won’t have any direct impact on road users, i.e. the storage of salt, inspection services, gritter manning arrangements etc.
However, the three main changes likely to have an impact on road users are:
- Reducing the gritting period on Saturday to the level of a Sunday service
- Not gritting certain routes where alternate routes are available
- Introducing a new ‘hierarchy’ system for gritted routes
So what will these changes mean for me?
Reducing gritting on Saturdays
Historically, gritting on Saturday had followed the same pattern as from Monday to Friday. This was reduced to a ‘Sunday service’ level, i.e. with only the main routes and loop roads treated between 8am and 5pm., Key locations such as health centres, care centres etc. are still prioritised.
Not gritting certain routes when alternatives are available
There are certain stretches of road where alternate routes for drivers are available, and where there is little or no development. A new system of temporary road closures was introduced, which will include signs to indicate roads have been closed during severe conditions. This may increase journey times, and you may have to make alternative arrangements for travel.
A new ‘hierarchy’ system for gritted routes
Gritting will continue to get underway at 6am with “A class” roads and loops being gritted on every frosty day. The side roads with less traffic will only be treated when conditions, as assessed by the Foreman and/or Engineer, are considered to be severe. This would include the ploughing of all roads when there is a sufficient depth of snow.
When did these changes happen?
The decision to introduce these changes was made at a meeting of the Council on 31 October this year and came into effect on Monday 12 November 2012.
How do I find out more?
Find out more about what we do during winter...
Anyone with individual queries can contact the Roads Service directly on 01595 744866.
Finally, road safety during the winter months is paramount. Motorists should always be aware of the risks they may be taking travelling on icy roads, and be prepared accordingly. Advice can be found at www.shetland.gov.uk/roads/what_drivers_can_do.asp