Gritter naming competition for city primary schools

A competition was today launched for city schools to name the city’s 10 main road gritters – as people will be able to track them online for the first time this year.

The youngsters are being asked to come up with some witty or funny names for the 18-tonne machines so they can be easily identified on the website.

The competition is only open to Aberdeen City Council primary schools, with one entry per primary school. It opens today (28 October) and closes on Tuesday 5 November before scheduled winter gritting operations are due to start on 11 November.

Each of the winning schools would get a visit from ‘their’ gritter, and the gritter drivers will also give a talk about their working day, their early starts driving to work when the roads aren’t gritted, and what it’s like to keep the city’s roads safe for residents. They’ll also do a question and answer session with the pupils.

The judges for the competition will be the Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett, a gritter driver, and a roads manager.

The Lord Provost said: “We’re delighted to introduce names for our 10 main road gritters this year as people will be able to see on our website where the gritters are around the city, and what time they’re out.

“Our early morning grit runs on the primary routes – the main roads - start at 4.45am which means almost 50% of our roads are gritted before 7.30am so the city is ready for the morning rush hour.

“Our gritter drivers do a fantastic job often going above and beyond their duty however we cannot be everywhere at the same time – there are 590 miles of roads in the city which is more than the distance from Aberdeen to London.

“We’re very looking forward to seeing all the entries from our primary schools and we’re sure there will be a lot of witty suggestions!”

Roads and pavements in the city are prioritised for gritting according to their need.

The primary routes which are treated first are the main transport routes through the city and include major bus routes, roads at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and roads near fire stations. The primary routes make up almost half of Aberdeen’s roads network, and are never impassable unless there are abnormal conditions. These are gritted early morning from 4.45am to 7am as the early morning gritting operations, to ensure they are salted before rush hour.

The primary routes are pre-treated and there is 24/7 availability of equipment and crews.

The secondary routes comprise significant through-routes in communities and are treated only once the primary roads are open to traffic. Roads that carry medium traffic flows or give access to community or public facilities of a non-urgent nature and secondary routes on higher ground are usually a priority. Secondary routes include roads near sheltered housing and social work properties, near schools where possible, cemeteries and crematoria, shopping centres, and access to facilities in parks and gardens.

The other roads are all other routes which are not normally treated unless emergency vehicles require access, there is a medical emergency or funeral, and they include minor roads where road users can make their way to the nearest higher priority route, local access roads and cul-de-sacs. The other roads are only gritted after the primary and secondary routes are open to traffic and it should be noted experience has shown primary and secondary routes are usually the only routes which are gritted during periods of bad weather.

The priority 1 pavements, which are highly used, are in the city centre and include two routes. The other pavements include all other footways which are treated on area basis, with a priority given to high usage and public facilities or access. Cycleways are treated as priority 2 footways.

For the second year running, large community salt bins are at 20 locations around the city with more locations to be confirmed. In addition, residents are encouraged to apply for a one-tonne community salt bag before the cut-off date of 1 November and there are also about 900 grit bins around the city for residents’ use.

More information can be found at www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/winter.