Hampshire Highways’ new salting vehicles are ready for winter and local school children are being asked to help give them names.
The 43 dedicated winter vehicles were brought in last year as part of the new Hampshire Highways fleet delivering highways maintenance across Hampshire as part of a seven year contract between Hampshire County Council and Skanska.
Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “These salting lorries are on 24 hour standby, seven days a week, from 1 October right through until the end of April, to deal with wintery conditions. Some of the salting lorries we have used in previous winters had been named by local primary schools, and, although we may not see them out on the roads all the time as they’re often working through the night ahead of the morning rush hour, I think its time these new ones had names too.”
The state-of-the-art salting vehicles are fitted with the latest technology to ensure salting is accurate and efficient, and this includes full GPS guidance and automatic salt delivery. The vehicles also have Euro VI efficient engines and dedicated snow ploughs.
Highways teams use detailed Hampshire-specific weather forecasts through the winter in combination with real time information from a network of electronic roadside weather stations to make decisions about the best time to salt the roads, where to salt and how much salt to use.
Forecast road surface and air temperatures, wind speed and direction, rainfall, and ice formation are all important factors in putting the winter fleet to work. Roads are treated with salt before temperatures drop to freezing to try to stop frost and ice forming. Temperatures and conditions can vary significantly even within one county like Hampshire, so winter teams look at a number of distinct weather bands to help decide when and where to put the winter fleet to work.
Highways crews will always salt Hampshire’s main roads first. These ‘Priority one’ routes cover approximately one third of the county road network but carry the majority of Hampshire’s traffic; covering A roads, some B roads, major bus routes, roads to hospitals and other key emergency hubs, large schools and colleges, areas of high traffic concentration and public transport interchanges.
During periods of prolonged severe weather, Priority two’ routes, which include remaining B roads and single access roads to villages, may also be treated.