ROAD gritting teams from Leicester City Council are preparing to take to the city’s streets as the first very cold winter temperatures approach.
The team of six gritting lorries and 15 specialist drivers, based at the council’s Leycroft Road depot in Beaumont Leys, are on standby throughout the winter months.
They routinely grit 180 miles of primary routes – more than a third of the city’s entire road network – and a further 40 miles of routes during more severe snowfall.
With temperatures predicted to fall as to near zero over the weekend, the team is due to undertake its first overnight gritting of this winter on Friday, November 24.
Leicester City Council has stockpiled around 3,000 tonnes of rock salt, which works by lowering the freezing point of moisture on the road surface.
The first early morning traffic following any overnight ice or snow will crush the salt to form brine, which then gets worked into the snow and ice and helps dissolve it.
Gritting routes cover all local hospitals, fire stations and main police stations as well as many schools.
Leicester City Council’s director of City Highways, Martin Fletcher, said: “After a fairly mild autumn and start to the winter, much colder weather is expected over the coming days.
“We get regular detailed road gritting weather forecasts from specialist weather service providers, which we monitor closely in order to make a decision on if and when we need to go out.
“The gritting lorries are a major part of the operation, but there is also a network of 500 grit bins in neighbourhoods across the city which residents can use to grit pavements and other well-used areas.
“As always we’d advise people to take extra care when out and about in icy conditions, to wrap up warm, wear sensible footwear to reduce the risk of slips and falls and also to allow extra journey times to give yourself time to defrost or demist your vehicle before setting off.”
The city council’s gritting teams are on standby every year from October to April as part of their winter gritting programme, so are ready to go out gritting at very short notice if overnight snow or ice is forecast.
Details of winter road services are available from Leicester City Council's website here.