Hampshire gritters rolling out tonightAs Hampshire gets ready for a predicted cold spell, Hampshire’s fleet of winter salting vehicles will be out across the county from 8pm tonight, making sure the roads are treated ahead of the predicted flurries of wet snow due to arrive on higher ground in Hampshire around midnight.

Councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “Hampshire’s highways teams will be doing all they can to ensure Hampshire keeps moving all through the winter, whatever the weather. We have a fleet of winter vehicles and full stocks of salt, and are committed to ensure everyone living and working in Hampshire can carry on using the highway network to go to work, school and college all through the winter.”

This year, new technology is being trialled to monitor community salt bins. Hampshire’s highways teams have fitted 50 community salt bins in Basingstoke with sensors which can measure how much salt is in each bin and how often the salt is being used. These will be activated during the winter and then monitored remotely so refills can be managed more effectively.

Councillor Woodward went on to say: “Community salt bins are an effective way in which residents can help in their communities by spreading salt on pavements or smaller roads which are not included in main salting routes. These new sensors will enable us to monitor the salt bins better, to see how much they’re being used and, therefore, establish if they are in the best place. If we can get some good evidence from this trial that the sensors help communities be more resilient in times of severe weather, then we will consider adding sensors to more bins across Hampshire.”

There are around 3,700 salt bins throughout Hampshire, all filled and ready for the winter. Weather and road conditions are monitored around the clock, with staff on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A fleet of 51 salting vehicles will treat Hampshire’s roads to combat icy and snowy conditions should temperatures drop.

As a large county, temperatures and conditions can vary quite significantly, so Hampshire is divided into two distinct weather bands and this helps highways teams to decide when and where to spread salt: the northern weather band broadly covers all routes north of Romsey, Bishops’ Waltham and Horndean, with the southern weather band covering Fareham, Gosport, Havant, the New Forest and surrounding areas.

With 5,280 miles of road in Hampshire, roads are salted on a priority basis. ‘Priority One’ routes carry the majority of Hampshire’s traffic and include A roads, some B roads, major bus routes, roads to major emergency services, large schools, areas of high traffic concentration and public transport areas. During prolonged severe weather, ‘Priority Two’ routes, which include remaining B roads and single access roads to villages, may also be treated. Additionally, community routes can be treated which include roads to other smaller schools, GPs surgeries and areas of community activity.

More details on when, where and how much salt to use from the community bins, along with maps to pinpoint their locations and priority salt route maps are available at www.hants.gov.uk/saltbins

More information on where and when roads are salted is available at: www.hants.gov.uk/salting

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