West Sussex preparing for winter weather

Staff checking a gritter during Operation Snowflake preparations
Staff checking a gritter during Operation Snowflake preparations

Preparations for winter weather in West Sussex have seen gritters carry out dry-run rehearsals and the stockpiling of salt.

During severe weather, priority is given to keeping major routes treated and passable and about 40 per cent, or 1,600 kilometres, of the West Sussex road network is treated in icy conditions.

Contractor Balfour Beatty has stockpiled 10,500 tonnes of salt at county council depots, in preparation for bad weather.

It has also held gritting ‘dry run”’ rehearsals, known as Operation Snowflake, to check staff and resources are ready for when winter bites.

The county council does not salt the A27, A23 or M23, which are Highways England’s responsibility, but it does treat all other ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads and key routes for emergency vehicles, approaches to major hospitals, large schools, colleges, and busy bus routes.

Whenever it snows, one-fifth of the roads on the network are given top priority.

Key rural routes are treated by local farmers through agreements in place with parish councils.

Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “In severe cold weather, our priority is to keep the county’s major routes treated and passable and every year a lot of hard work goes into ensuring we are ready for winter.

“We keep a constant watch on weather conditions and set plans in motion as soon as we see road surface temperatures heading towards zero.”

For more information about gritting routes, visit our winter service pages at www.westsussex.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/maintaining-roads-verges-and-pavements/winter-service/

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