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Salt being stockpiled for gritting roads as county braces itself for winter

PUBLISHED: 10:49 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:49 01 November 2019

A digger loading a gritter in one of Norfolk’s salt domes. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

A digger loading a gritter in one of Norfolk's salt domes. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council

Some 16,000 tonnes of salt has been stockpiled in Norfolk to help gritting teams keep the county's roads clear this winter.

Norfolk county councillor Martin Wilby. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Norfolk county councillor Martin Wilby. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

The county's gritters have already been out for their first run of the season - treating roads in the west of the county on Monday, October 28.

Last winter saw 13,600 tonnes of specially formulated salt spread over the council's 49 gritting routes, which includes all A-class and B-class roads and some C-class roads.

Each run covers 2,200 miles of road and takes three hours to complete.

That was down on the 25,000 tonnes which were used over the previous winter, when the Beast from the East brought heavy snowfall across the county and meant gritters had to go out 113 times.

While 16,000 tonnes is stocked through a long-term contract with supplier Compass Minerals, Norfolk County Council says that will be replenished .

The salt used to treat roads works by reducing the freezing point of water on the surface.

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However, bosses at Norfolk County Council say even when roads are treated there is no guarantee they will be completely clear of ice or snow.

For example, in severe cold weather (below approximately minus seven degrees Celsius) even salt will not prevent the roads from icing over.

A change means this year, the gritting will be done by Norse Highways, on behalf of the county council, although decisions on mobilising crews will still be taken at County Hall.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: "The recent move of the day to day highway maintenance operations, including gritting, to Norse Highways, will see some efficiency savings made, but for Norfolk's roads this winter it will be business as usual.

"The fleet of gritter trucks and the dedicated crews are prepped and ready to grit roads and clear any snow as and when needed.

"I'd urge everyone to take care when roads are cold and wet over the coming months - it's very important to always drive to arrive, so please do make sure you drive to the road conditions at all times."

Gritting the A47 and A11 is not the responsibility of Norfolk County Council.

They are treated by Highways England.

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