Cheshire East Council's highways teams are 'all systems go' to keep the borough's roads open and safe this winter.
A fleet of 20 gritters will be on standby around the clock from now until April to tackle the borough's wintry weather and keep highway traffic flowing.
The gritters feature location trackers enabling members of the public to track them live online throughout the entire winter season.
Salt stocks have been replenished ready to treat Cheshire East's road network. Gritting routes are planned and include the high-level roads to the east of the borough, where snow and ice tend to have the most severe impact in extremely cold weather.
A 'dry' gritting run has taken place to check the gritters are safe and ready to tackle the coming winter. Weather conditions are monitored closely and the gritting team will treat up to 1,020 kilometres (635 miles) of road- about 38 per cent of our network – when wintry conditions are forecast, in order to keep key routes and services running as normal
Cheshire East Highways' preparations for winter include:
-There are 17 primary gritting routes and a gritting fleet of 16 frontline gritters with trained drivers;
-Gritters operate from two bases, directly from Wardle and Macclesfield;
-Approximately 10,000 tonnes of rock salt is used for treating the highway network in an average winter;
-We treat a total 1,020km (635 miles) of primary roads when ice or snow conditions are forecast;
-A normal gritting route takes approximately four hours, when treating the network for a forecast of ice and hoar frost. The aim is to complete all these routes before 7am. (This depends on the forecast – for instance, rain could delay treatment);
-Passing traffic breaks down the salt granules and the salt works by turning the ice or snow surrounding each granule into a saline solution, which prevents ice forming; and
-Approximately 4,700 tonnes of rock salt is stored locally and is regularly replenished during the winter season.
CouncillorCraig Browne, chair of Cheshire East Council's highways and transport committee, said: "Our winter season can stretch over six months, so it was vital that our gritters are ready and our salt stocks remain high in this period.
Winter weather can be extremely unpredictable, so we monitor the weather forecast closely to ensure that our gritting routes are treated at the right time. We also urge residents to take great care when driving or walking, when it's icy or snowing.-
"Last winter, our gritting teams were deployed more than 170 times, treating almost 62,000km of road using more than 6,300 tonnes of salt.
"We cannot, however, ensure that all roads will be completely clear of snow or ice, so please take care and drive to the conditions – especially on untreated roads."
Residents can keep up to date with gritting decisions by following the @CECHighways twitter account and by searching #CEHGrit on twitter. Cheshire East's gritting vehicles can also be tracked, as they treat the network, online at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/highways
Further information about Cheshire East Council's winter service and guidance on travelling during winter can be found at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/highways
Cheshire East Highways can also be contacted on 0300 123 5020.
For winter driving advice, see Cheshire Fire Service winter road safety tips.