MOTORISTS are in safe hands this winter thanks to the dedicated team of gritter lorry drivers at Milton Keynes Council.
With the overnight snowfall and drop in temperature plummeting the all early this morning the team was out covering grid and secondary roads with salt to melt away the worst of the icy conditions.
The Milton Keynes salt barn currently has around 2,000 tonnes of salt at its disposal ready to combat the arctic conditions.
Andy Mcpherson, highways contract officer in highways services for Milton Keynes Council, said: “We use about 40 to 50 tonnes on a normal night, just a normal frost. We used about 80 tonnes before the snow came; we probably would have used 50 to 60 tonnes by the end of today additionally doing estate roads.
“The main grid roads haven’t been too bad today so we’ve been doing secondary routes which are more minor routes to schools and industrial estates and then we’ll be out again this evening doing the grid roads again and the main bus routes.
“All the main industrial areas, the hospital, the police stations, the main bus routes and all the grid routes, they’re all on priority one routes so they get done anytime there’s any frost or snow forecast and the others are done just if there’s severe weather for two or three days.
The council is using a new type of salt, in use for just two and a half years, called Safecoats. It is mined in Cheshire but is then coated with an agricultural by-product from a sugar refinery that means it sticks to roads better.
It also means it can use approximately two thirds the amount previously used to achieve important cost and environmental benefits.
Gritter driver Bob Snell, said: “During the day time if there’s a chance the side roads are going to be slippy we normally go out, if there’s any chance the roads are going to be hazardous to members of the public we will nearly always go out and do secondary routes.
“Secondary routes are done from 7.30am onwards till the end of the working day and then standby crews get called in and they continue and they go on till midnight and then the morning shift will come on from midnight onwards to 7.30am.
“If it is snowing they will double up with the snow ploughs as you need two people with a snow plough.
About five tonnes of salt will go down from one van when with the old salt it used to be seven tonnes was a full load. This stuff is a lot better.”