Gritting Tech to Become more Reliable
More reliable weather forecasts and accurate roadside monitoring could help identify roads that need to be gritted with a high degree of certainty.
21:03 03 August 2018
A new technology that could accurately monitor the weather throughout the winter can help highway teams to predict with high degrees of certainty when road temperatures will fall near freezing.
Currently, highway teams grit the roads when temperatures are due to fall to 1.0 Celsius. With reliable forecasts and accurate monitoring stations, this figure can be reduced without compromising safety.
A report on the council’s winter gritting operation over the past two years have found that 894 individual routes were treated when temperatures is above freezing. The report now recommends adopting the 0.5C threshold, which would still allow for any errors in the forecast and help the council save resources.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said:"Our gritting crews are on standby 24/7 from October to April, and when low temperatures are forecast we grit the roads as a precaution before frost forms or a weather front arrives, usually during the evening or early hours of the morning.
"The decision on whether to send out the gritters is taken by experienced staff according to the most accurate information available on local weather conditions, as well as data from roadside monitoring equipment around the county.
"This method is very well developed, allowing us to differentiate between conditions on each of 45 routes, so that we only grit those that we need to.
"Our climate means that conditions are often marginal, with road temperatures due to drop near zero at some point over the night, which is why we build in a small margin of error.
"I will ask cabinet to carefully consider this proposal as officers' advice is that we could reduce this from 1.0C to 0.5C without compromising safety, while making significant savings in cost and resources."