Winter Service - Frequently Asked Questions

Winter Service - Salting/Gritting

Q1. Which roads do you salt/grit?

Q2. Do you salt/grit the minor roads?

Q3. What happens in the event of salt shortage / resource issue?

Q4. How do I know if my road or route to work is gritted?

Q5. Are you responsible for all roads in Devon?

Q6. Do you know where the gritters are and where they have been?

Q7. How long does it take to salt/grit the roads?

Q8. Do you salt/grit cycleways or footways?

Q9. Why don’t you salt/grit my road?

Q10. How do you decide when to salt/grit?

Q11. Do you use salt or grit or both?

   

Q1. Which roads do you salt/grit?

A. The primary salting network is made up of the major routes where the majority of vehicle movements take place and also includes accesses to hospitals, ambulance stations, fire stations, other emergency service establishments, railway stations, airports and secondary schools. The length of the 37 routes which form the primary salting network is 20% of the road network.

The following criteria are used to determine which roads are salted:

Strategic RoutesAll A and B roads and C roads classified as high speed routes
Traffic FlowRoutes with February two way flows greater than 1000 vehicles per day
Settlement PopulationMain access route to settlements with a population of 500 or greater as provided by Devon County Council’s Strategic Intelligence unit
Emergency PremisesMain access route to 24hr emergency services premises, defined as “Emergency premises with 24 hour access” include: ambulance stations, full time and retained fire stations, hospitals with 24 hour casualty departments and police stations manned 24 hours.
Cottage and Community HospitalsMain highway access route to strategic cottage and community hospitals as notified to the authority by Devon Primary Care Trust
Secondary Schools (including Independent Secondary Schools)Main highway access to secondary schools
Bus RoutesBus routes with a service interval of at least 15 minutes within any one hour of the day, in one direction of travel or where a combination of multiple bus services meet this criteria
AirportsMain highway access to regional airports
Railway StationsMain highway access to mainline and branch line railway stations
Adjoining Highway Authority Salting NetworksAgreement to ensure consistency of action across boundaries
Park and Ride sitesThe bus loop of Park & Ride sites.

   

Q2. Do you salt/grit the minor roads?

A. Yes, there is a secondary network which includes a lot of the minor roads to smaller communities. This secondary network is treated during extended periods of cold weather (defined as snow or ice most of the day). But not until the main route is clear.

The following criteria are used to determine which roads are salted as part of the secondary network:

Settlement PopulationMain access route to settlements with a population of 100 to 499
Park and ride sites Car parking area
Bus RoutesWhere problems have been identified on routes with a service interval of at least 30 minutes within any one hour of the day, in one direction of travel, or where a combination of multiple bus services meet this criteria.
Main highway access route to Devon County Council Level 1 propertiesThose council properties providing essential services which cannot be closed in severe weather - as defined during the swine flu pandemic emergency response.

   

Q3. What happens in the event of salt shortage / resource issue?

A. In the event of a salt shortage or other resource problem, a reduced salting network, referred to as the ‘resilience network’ (of just over 50% of the primary salting network) will be implemented to the following criteria:

   

Q4. How do I know if my road or route to work is gritted?

A. The roads on the primary salting network are shown on the attached map image - PDF icon (446KB - pdf help).

   

Q5. Are you responsible for all roads in Devon?

A. No. Torbay and Plymouth Councils maintain roads in their areas. The Motorway and Trunk roads (which includes the M5, A30, A303, A35 and A38) are maintained by the Highways Agency. Devon County Council is responsible for 13,000km or 8,000 miles of road in Devon.

   

Q6. Do you know where the gritters are and where they have been?

A. All of the gritters that are used for salting the network are fitted with GPS tracking devices so that we can see where they are at any time. The devices also record where and when the gritters passed along a route for record purposes. The gritter drivers are instructed to drive with due care and attention. The maximum speed when salting is 45 mph, conditions permitting.

   

Q7. How long does it take to salt/grit the roads?

A. The standard treatment time is 3hrs, although some routes are completed in a much shorter time.

   

Q8. Do you salt/grit cycleways or footways?

A. Busy footways e.g. main shopping centres are treated on a reactive basis during periods of prolonged freezing (defined as snow or ice most of the day) within the resources available, once the primary salting network is clear.

   

Q9. Why don’t you salt/grit my road?

A. Devon County Council, as highway authority, maintains nearly 13,000 km or 8,000 miles of roads in the county.

During a winter emergency situation it is not practicable or cost effective for the whole network to be pre-treated or cleared immediately. The primary salting network is made up of the major routes where the majority of vehicle movements take place and also includes accesses to hospitals, ambulance stations, fire stations and other emergency service establishments, railway stations, airports and secondary schools. The length of road forming the primary salting network of 37 routes is 20% of the road network.

   

Q10. How do you decide when to salt/grit?

A. The forecaster, Meteo Group,  issues a weather forecast, predicting road temperatures and when they are likely to reach freezing point. This forms the basis of the decision whether to salt/grit or not, what time to salt/grit and which parts of the route need to be treated.

   

Q11. Do you use salt or grit or both?

A. Most authorities use pure salt to pre-treat the highway network tomitigate the formation oficeand snow, although traffic is needed to make it effective. In snow conditions grit is often added to the salt to aid traction. Pure salt is the most effect pre-treatment, grit is often added once snow has started to lay and compact. The term "gritter" is used generically but most of the time they are spreading salt. In Devon and some other authorities, brine is added to the salt as it leaves the vehicle in what is described as a "pre-wet" operation. This makes the salt quicker acting and it sticks to the road surface.