Plan for gritting roads and pavements over winter approved at committee

A plan gritting Aberdeen’s roads and pavements for the 2019/20 winter was agreed at the City Council’s operational delivery committee today (Tuesday 17 September 2019).

A report to committee about the Roads Winter Service Plan said the allocated budget of £1.5.23million is for a mild winter and will be increased if the weather is worse. The report said the expenditure for the previous three winters was £1.729m in 2018-2019, £2.333m in 2017-18 and £1.610m in 2016-17., showing the final cost to ACC is heavily dependent on actual conditions experienced during the winter.

Salt levels have been taken back up to 9,411tonnes and this will be topped up with regular deliveries throughout the winter. The amount of salt in previous years was 2018/19 – 11,531 in stock at the start and 6,166 used, 2017/18 - 10,624 in stock and 15,321 used, 2016/17 - 10,087 in stock and 4,602 used.

The report said it is not feasible to salt every road, pavement and cycleway around the city at the same time so they are prioritised, with main routes given top priority. Roads are split into priority one, two and three routes, and pavements/cycleways are split into priority one and two routes.

This year, priority one roads are to be split into gold and silver routes.

The gold routes include the strategic roads and all the main distributer roads, access roads for emergency service vehicles, and they also include the de-trunked sections of the A96 and A92. The gold routes should not become impassable to traffic 24 hours a day, except in abnormal conditions.

The silver routes include main secondary distributer roads, and link roads and local access roads with special circumstances such as steep slopes, and they should not become impassable to traffic between the hours of 4.45am and 9pm, except in abnormal conditions.

Link roads and local access roads that do not have any special circumstances such as steep slopes etc are priority 2 or 3 routes.

With the opening of the city bypass (Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route), former trunk roads through the city (A96 and A92) are now Aberdeen City Council’s responsibility. Work on revised routes has been ongoing for some months and the routes have been revised to incorporate the proposed new treatment priorities and to include changes to the network including the de-trunked sections of the A96 and A92.

These revised routes allow for 51 km of link and local access roads to be moved from the priority 1 route and included in the priority 2 or 3 treatment routes. The 51km is the equivalent of approximately one priority 1 route however route optimisation software has been used to improve the efficiency of the routes to the equivalent of approximately one priority 1 route.

The report to committee said brine and de-icing chemicals have been trialled as a precautionary treatment at locations on the city centre and on cycleways. These trials have generally been successful with the benefits including the elimination of salt spread into shops and private properties, and the treatment remaining effective for longer than hard salt.

There are currently more than 900 salt bins throughout the city based on historic requests and the policy of not issuing any additional salt bins this winter was agreed by the committee today as they are a labour-intensive operation which adds to restocking problems. Instead, people are encouraged to apply for one tonne community salt bags before 1 November, for using on communal roads and pavements in their area. In addition, there will be 20 large capacity grit bins at locations around the city again this year which will allow residents to have easier access to salt during storm conditions.

A further new development this year will be the public will be able to see on the City Council’s website where road gritters are as the vehicles have been fitted with tracking devices.