WHILST most people were tucked away in bed, council staff and contractors were battling to distribute hundreds of tonnes of grit and salt across the borough as the heavy snow hit the country over the weekend.
Gritting teams had planned ahead by gritting at 4am on Saturday, in preparation for Saturday evening’s heavy snowfall, which was over 12.5cm, around five inches.
Then from 3pm on Saturday night through to Sunday morning the gritters were once again out in force ploughing the snow and spreading salt - at one point all 13 of the council’s vehicles, including the ‘mini’ Redway gritter, were working at full pelt.
As is usual, the primary routes were gritted first, then secondary and rural roads, with local farmers helping in this respect, using snow ploughs attached to tractors to help clear snow from the roads in their areas. Staff from SERCO, the council’s waste and recycling contractors, also helped out.
Another full gritting took place on Sunday morning at 6:30am, and again at around 3am Monday morning, and yesterday ‘hand-gritting’ took place in the village high streets, sheltered housing etc around Milton Keynes, and then more gritting took place at 7pm last night. Secondary routes will be tackled today and the gritting crews will be out again tonight.
Staff also used social media, such as Twitter, to keep on top of snow news.
Milton Keynes Council Leader, councillor Andrew Geary, praised the efforts of those involved.
He said: “When most of us are tucked in bed at night these people were out working through the night to try and make our roads safe.
“Being a farmer I know something about early rises and awkward working hours but these staff went the extra mile – literally. I must also thank my farming colleagues who did their bit as well by ploughing up the snow on their local roads.
“But we’re still not out of the woods yet – more bad weather is forecast so please, if you have to drive, make sure you take it slowly and safely.”
The council’s new ‘salt shed’, at Bleak Hall, also came into its own. It contains Safecoat, a pre-tested, more efficient mix. The shed holds just over 3,000 tonnes, and the council currently has about 2,500 tonnes at its disposal.
Dozens of localised salt bins are also dotted around the borough at strategic locations.