We’re ready for winter, are you?

Published: 9 November 2020

excavator on mound of grit salt in Stores Road depot

The salt barn at the Stores Road Depot is currently holding around 4000 tonnes of molasses covered salt.

Summer may seem like a distant memory, but here at Derby City Council, preparations for this winter started as early as April.

So how do we prepare for winter at Derby City Council, and how can you make sure you’re ready in case of snow and ice?

Over summer, the salt barn at the Stores Road Depot was restocked and is holding around 4000 tonnes of molasses covered salt (the molasses is a by-product of sugar production and is environmentally friendly). This is more than enough to keep the 169 miles of roads we treat, safe and 192 grit bins across the city full for an average winter.

In light of the ongoing pandemic, emergency active travel routes around the city will also be treated to make sure that key workers and those making essential journeys around the city, can do so safely.

This year, we have added new gritters to our fleet. They all have technology, which automatically salts the route, whilst the driver focuses on driving. Earlier in the year, we introduced you to Hogzilla, the Multi-hog. So, when Hogzilla isn’t busy helping to repair roads, it will be keeping footways and the city centre free of ice using special brine (salt water) solution.

You’ve probably never noticed them, but Derby and Derbyshire are dotted with a network of weather monitoring stations that check everything from air temperature to how damp the road surface is, and beginning on the first of October, these stations get checked no less than three times a day, every day.

Our data even helps our forecaster, DTN (formerly Meteogroup) provide a detailed weather forecast for the city. This way, if it’s looking like it might be cold (and damp) enough for frost or ice to form on the road surface, we can mobilise our fleet of gritters to keep the roads in a safe condition for driving and keep the city moving. If the weather forecast is looking particularly cold or snowy, then these weather stations are monitored 24/7. If we’re going out gritting, we’ll share updates on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #GrittingDerby to keep you up-to-date.

We also share our gritting information with our neighbours at Derbyshire County Council and Highways England. However, timings of gritting may vary as you travel around the country. So please do not take it for granted that if Derby’s roads have been gritted, that roads in neighbouring areas have also been gritted or vice versa.

If you’re planning any kind of travel at all over the winter period, make sure you’ve got an emergency kit in your car – especially if you’ve got long trips planned. This kit should contain essential items such as:

Any medication you or passengers may need

  • Drinks and snacks
  • Hats, gloves, scarves and blankets
  • A shovel, in case you need to dig your car out
  • A first aid kit
  • Sunglasses – yes, really! Sun glare on snow can cause accidents due to reduced visibility
  • A pair of walking boots
  • A road atlas, because you never know when technology may let you down
  • Jump leads
  • A portable phone charger
  • A torch.

You can either create your own winter kit, or they can be bought from places such as the AA or the RAC.

More information about gritting and advice for driving in icy and snowy conditions can be found on our website.

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