Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) is gearing up for winter in Herefordshire and has activated its 24/7 rapid response winter service.
BBLP contract director Andy Williams said: “Our winter operations hub is monitoring conditions and is ready to respond when necessary. When temperatures fell last week, we started treating priority routes.”
While the county basked in an unseasonably warm autumn, BBLP fine-tuned its winter preparations ahead of plummeting temperatures and the event of falling snow.
Andy Williams added: “In readiness we held a dry-run of our winter response service to check the routes and make sure all the gritters and equipment are in good working order.”
With a salt stash of nearly 6,500 tonnes, a fleet of 15 gritters equipped with snowploughs, four snow blowers and a round-the-clock surveillance team, everything is in place.
Cllr Paul Rone, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member transport and roads, added that road users also have a responsibility to be prepared: “We will do our best to provide warnings and keep the main routes clear to reduce potential dangers, but motorists have to play their part as well by exercising great caution during bad weather.”
Drivers should ensure that their vehicles are prepared for bad winter – a good battery is needed for cold starts, turning on head-lights, heated rear screens and demisters; windows should be clean inside and out; antifreeze levels must be adequate and tyres should also have plenty of tread and be at the correct pressure.
Of Herefordshire’s more than 2,000 miles of roads, nearly 600 miles are categorised as priority routes which get precautionary salting and reactive gritting. Generally, all planned early morning treatments are completed before 7.30am. School access roads are regarded as a high priority in times of severe or prolonged winter weather.
The winter maintenance operation in figures:
- BBLP uses 6mm rock salted mined in Cheshire
- 4,000 tonnes of salt is held at Thorn, Hereford; 2,200 in Kingsland and 250 in Bromyard
- Seven gritters are kept at Thorn; five at Kingsland; three at Bromyard; and there is one spare
- Two snowblowers are at Thorn; one at Kingsland and one at Bromyard
- There are two quad bikes and towable gritters and one trailer-mounted gritter
- There are three duty control offers responsible for monitoring the forecast and making decisions about inspections and treatment; one is on call every day
- There are nine inspectors who travel three pre-determined routes as required; three are on call every day
- There are four supervisors and 30 drivers
- Data from sources including ice detection sensors and weather radar is used to decide when gritters and other equipment should be deployed. Warnings to local residents are issued on Twitter @HfdsStreets and, in the case of extreme weather, road closures are listed on Herefordshire Council website. https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/transport-and-highways/maintenance/roads-closures-and-diversions