CHESHIRE West’s fleet of 14 gritting trucks is on standby as the region is braced for the coldest weekend of the winter.

The gritting trucks keeps 490 miles of roads safe for drivers.  Each gritting run uses around 80 tonnes of salt – which weighs the same as a Boeing 737 aircraft and 100 passengers.

The Council's Highways Service and its maintenance contractor, Ringway, have been working round the clock to cope with the recent cold weather and so far this winter the gritting fleet has been mobilised 60 times. 

Salt at the Guilden Sutton depot

Over the last few months, regular deliveries of salt from the Compass Minerals Salt Mine in Winsford have arrived to top up stocks.

To increase resilience around 6,000 tonnes of rocksalt can be stored at the Guilden Sutton depot to treat key routes across the borough.

On nights where frost or icy conditions are forecast, the fleet will spread salt to prevent ice from forming across 40 percent of the Council's highway network.

All gritters are equipped with GPS tracking to enable accurate monitoring of which roads have been treated.

Duty officers will mobilise the gritting fleets when it is predicted that the road surface temperatures are to drop below freezing, allowing time for the salt to be applied to the road.  Salting is normally completed within four hours and usually before 7am. The Highways teams maintain a close relationship with the Met Office, which monitors roadside weather stations and produces localised forecasts.

Cllr Karen Shore

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore said: “At times of continuous snow, measures are in place for Street Cleansing and Grounds Maintenance operatives to aid in the removal of snow from some footways and to spread salt.  Snow bags, disposable bags filled with salt, are also ready to be delivered to the more remote areas in need of help at times of heavy snow.

“It's particularly important to you give yourself extra time to prepare for your journey on a cold morning and don't drive off until you and your car are ready.  Please drive safely in poor weather conditions, and in case of a vehicle breakdown always carry a fully charged mobile phone and check the weather forecast before setting out.

“Gritting updates are available via the Council’s Twitter feed.  Search for the hashtag - #cwacgrit.”

Cold weather advice:

• Even if it hasn't rained overnight, a heavy frost can still make roads slippery;

• Watch out for icy conditions under bridges, overhanging trees and exposed roads;

• Allow extra time in the morning to de-ice your car windows - and then clean all of them so you have a good view.  Check that windscreen wipers and lights are working and tyre depths should also be checked; and

• Clearing snow and ice from the pavement outside your home or public spaces can help prevent slips and falls.

More tips for being winter ready can be found on the Met Office website: