10 November 2010

As Northamptonshire County Council makes preparations to deal with wintry weather over the coming months – the authority is giving people the chance to name 10 of its fleet of gritting lorries, with winning entries painted on to the trucks.

In Northamptonshire a total of 1,128 miles of road receives precautionary gritting – the same distance as between London and Rome. This service is carried out by the highways service provider MGWSP.

And last winter, the worst in 30 years, our fleet of 27 gritters spread almost 22,000 tonnes of salt, the same weight as 1,700 double-decker buses.

County council cabinet member for transport, minerals and waste, Councillor Heather Smith, said: “Keeping the county moving over the winter months is a huge task and the positive comments that we have received from our residents show that we are improving our service each year.

“Last year we maintained salt stocks all through the winter by careful planning and organisation and we will continue to build on the good work that has been done up to now to keep the county running smoothly.”

New names are not the only change for this season. A new tracking system will monitor the location of the gritting lorries so highways teams can divert crews to problem areas.

Other changes include:

  • A new type of sugar-coated salt which can be used more sparingly and reduces corrosion to vehicles. This is less visible on the highway than more ‘traditional’ salt but is just as efficient.
  • Increased ‘resilience’ levels of salt storage – by increasing both the maximum level held in stock and the minimum level prior to re-order.
  • A 50/50 salt/sand mixture in the grit bins.
  • Providing borough and district councils with their own grit and working with them to maximise the available workforce in periods of snowfall.

In addition, 150 new salt bins are being introduced to local areas to help maintain paths in hard to reach areas. This will bring the total to 1,780 across the county.

The competition runs from November 10 to November 26 and is open to all Northamptonshire residents and schools. The winning entries will be announced the week starting November 29.

You can enter by going to the county’s website at: www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/winterheroes and entering your details on the online form or downloading an entry and posting to us.

You could see your suggested name displayed on one of the fleet as they venture out in to the snow and ice.

To receive a copy of the Northamptonshire Winter Salting leaflet, which gives advice and salting routes, please email info@mgwsp.co.uk