Shropshire’s gritting lorries set for annual test run
Winter may not be with us yet, but don’t be surprised if you see a gritting lorry driving along one of Shropshire’s roads over the next few days.
In preparation for the cold weather ahead, Shropshire Council and its contractor Ringway are sending the gritters out for their annual test run from this Friday (30 September).
The fleet of 25 gritters and five reserve vehicles will be travelling around the county to make sure they and their crews are ready for when the cold weather hits.
The gritters – located at Shropshire Council’s five highways depots – will be travelling the routes they’ll need to cover when ice and snow hits the county’s roads.
The aim is to make sure that the vehicles are in good working order and that the drivers are familiar with the routes they will have to travel, often in the dark, and often in severe weather.
It also allows the drivers to note any new landmarks or obstacles that may have appeared on their routes since last winter.
As part of this test run, the teams will also be inspecting their winter maintenance equipment and will be briefed on this year’s winter response plans.
Simon Jones, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and transport, said:
“Seeing gritting lorries in later September and early October may raise a few eyebrows but this annual test run is really important as it makes sure that are gritters and their drivers are ready for winter – and that we’ll be able to keep our roads open and accessible when the winter weather hits.”
In the Shropshire Council area the gritters treat what’s known as the ‘defined network’; this is around 28% of the total road network in Shropshire, and includes:
- all A and B roads
- localised high-risk sites and important access routes
- major town centre shopping areas
- heavily used footways and cycle routes.
Shropshire Council’s contractor, Ringway, has sufficient drivers to operate all of the above routes 24 hours a day, and additional staff available to deal with other winter maintenance duties as required, e.g. clearing snow from footways.