Hampshire’s highways teams will be on standby from midnight tonight as road surface temperatures are predicted to fall below zero.
Councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “Highways teams were out salting last night, and are ready for tonight, keeping a close eye on road and air temperatures as well as the weather forecast. Ice is the main concern with many roads still very wet from the recent heavy rainfall and water running off surrounding land. With a forecast of more rain and wintery showers, interspersed with cold snaps, timings of salt runs are very important to ensure the salt has a chance to prevent ice forming before it is washed away.
“People may spot a number of salt wicks on the roadside – these are hessian bags full of salt which are placed at sites where water is known to flow onto the road from adjacent land. As the water passes through the salt wick, it increases in salinity and helps prevent ice forming.”
This winter, the new salt barn at Broadmarsh has added to the County Council’s overall capacity to store salt. Salt barns are strategically placed across Hampshire, and are fully stocked at Hook, Bishops Waltham, Broadmarsh, Weyhill, Totton, Micheldever, Dummer and Petersfield. Weather and road conditions are monitored around the clock, with staff on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Councillor Woodward went on to say: “So far this winter, we’ve not used a lot of salt and we have a good stock across Hampshire. Our fleet of 51 salting vehicles will be out on the roads to combat icy and snowy conditions, making sure routes are salted in time for everyone to get to work and school as usual. I would, however, ask residents to take particular care if they are setting off early tomorrow and urge people to drive according to the conditions at all times.”
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.
More information on where and when roads are salted is available at: www.hants.gov.uk/salting
Follow @hantsconnect and @hantshighways on Twitter for updates on winter salting.
With the drop in temperatures, Hampshire’s residents are being asked to look out friends, family and neighbours. Cllr Patricia Stallard, Executive Member for Health and Public Health explained: “It is particularly important for people who are more vulnerable to suffering ill health due to the cold to keep warm. This includes babies and very young children (under 5 years), older people (75+ years), pregnant women, and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart conditions, circulatory disease, asthma, COPD, depression, anxiety, diabetes or arthritis.”