Crews are ready for mild spell to end

thisisoxfordshire: Gritter driver Sam Bowler is primed to treat the county’s roads. Picture: OX64066 Ed Nix Buy this photo » Gritter driver Sam Bowler is primed to treat the county’s roads. Picture: OX64066 Ed Nix

OXFORD’S highways officials have said they are ready to keep the city running in case of snow this winter.

The city council plans to bring out its gritters and salt stocks to make sure the city doesn’t grind to a halt.

Shaun Hatton, highways and engineering manager, said he and colleagues would work with roads authority Oxfordshire County Council.

He said: “We follow an agreed route which includes the busiest roads, main bus routes and hilly areas. We are also responsible for gritting council-operated park and ride sites and city council-controlled car parks.

“We have three bulk gritters and a substantial salt stock at our Cowley Marsh Depot site. “We use a dedicated ice alert system which provides us with accurate forecasting on ground temperatures.

“This helps us make the best use of resources by finding out more about the severity of the weather and how much grit is likely to be needed.

“In really adverse snowfall conditions, we aim to have as many streetscene staff as possible clearing snow and ice from footpaths in the city centre and other shopping areas around the city.”

Gritter driver Sam Bowler added: “We have been out twice already this year salting. The gritters and the salt are all ready to go.”

Temperatures across Oxfordshire have fallen recently but forecasters say snow is not on the horizon.

Met Office spokesman Nicky Maxey said: “It will be fairly typical winter weather but it is looking fairly mild for the time of year.

“It will be a cloudy day on Thursday and it will get quite overcast as you get into Thursday night and Friday morning, staying quite cloudy and temperatures will be quite mild.

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“It will be a mild night on Friday night into Saturday morning and there will be patchy sunshine on Saturday.”

The county council, which is the highways authority, has the ability to put out up to 30 gritters at any one time in cold temperatures.

It also has 12,500 tonnes of salt to spread across Oxfordshire’s roads, of which it treats around 43 per cent.

Despite gritting road conditions can be more difficult than at other times of year and motorists have been advised to drive with caution if frost or snow is forecast.

The Highways Agency grits major roads like the A34, A43 and M40, not the city or county council.


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