Gritters battle to keep traffic on the move

PUBLISHED: 16:36 05 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:57 11 May 2010

THE 58 gritting crews operated by Hertfordshire Highways have been out every night since News Year s Day to keep the county s roads safe during the present cold snap. Temperatures fell to minus 7 degrees overnight on Saturday and more sub-zero temperature

THE 58 gritting crews operated by Hertfordshire Highways have been out every night since News Year's Day to keep the county's roads safe during the present cold snap.

Temperatures fell to minus 7 degrees overnight on Saturday and more sub-zero temperatures are forecast for this evening (Monday).

The north and west of the county have been worst affected, with an inch of snow in places.

Highways crews went out last night at 12.30am and again at 4.30am to salt the entire primary network before the morning peak period. From 8am today, any spare crews were salting secondary routes and high priority footways.

The crews will also be going out this evening after the evening peak period.

The present cold conditions are expected to last until the weekend.

The decision to send out the crews is based on information received from up-to-the-minute weather forecasts and 12 roadside weather-reporting stations linked to computers.

All winter maintenance vehicles now have GPS technology fitted so Herts Highways can track where any vehicle is at any time, and which roads it has salted.

The organisation salts the county's A and B roads, all bus routes, at least one road in and out of villages, industrial areas and shopping centres. Around 300 tonnes of salt is used on each outing but, if the weather is extreme, up to 1,500 tonnes a day could be spread on the county's roads.

On every salting trip, the 58 gritting lorries cover nearly half of Hertfordshire's entire road network - more than 1,500 miles (2,200km). It takes around two hours to complete a precautionary salt, and the work is normally done outside peak hours.

There are also around 800 salt bins at known trouble spots outside the salting routes, for use on a "self serve" basis.

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