Winter maintenance campaign launched

Aberdeen City Council launched its 2016/17 winter maintenance campaign today (4 November) and outlined priorities for the season ahead.

The local authority’s budget for winter and emergencies is £1.727million, although flexibility is built-in to ensure the response is tailored to the severity of the winter.

Under the plans almost half (47%) of Aberdeen’s roads are scheduled to be treated before 7.30am, with early morning and standby operations running from 16 November until 20 March. The end date will be extended if road conditions and forecasts are showing wintry weather.

Weather forecasts are closely monitored throughout the day and night, and gritters and ploughs can be out 24/7.

There are 560 miles of roads in the city, slightly more than the distance from Aberdeen to London, and the team is primed for another busy season.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “We hope it won’t be a severe winter this year but our staff and equipment are ready for winter and are as prepared as they can be.

“Our dedicated staff continue to deliver an effective service under all winter conditions, often going above and beyond their duty to help people.

“Aberdeen City Council wants to keep roads open and residents safe and we also want to help people to help themselves. Our website will be updated with the latest information, including weather forecasts and live information about the routes gritters have covered to help with journey planning.

“The fact that almost half of the city’s roads are treated before 7.30am when most people are getting up and ready for their day ahead means key routes across the city have been treated before many travellers set out for work or school in the morning.”

The priority one (P1) roads which are treated first are the main transport routes through the city which include major bus routes and public service/emergency facilities. The P1 routes make up almost half of Aberdeen’s roads network, and are rarely impassable unless they are subject to abnormal conditions. When required these routes are pre-treated and there is 24/7 availability of equipment and crews.

The 10 P1 routes, and other important information, can be viewed on Aberdeen City Council’s winter maintenance section of the website: www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/winter

The priority two (P2) roads are significant through-routes not in P1, and are part of an area response as winter conditions dictate.

The priority three (P3) routes are all other roads which are not normally treated until all P1 and P2 routes are open to traffic. The exception to this is in times of emergencies, for emergency vehicle access, for medical emergencies or funerals.

The P1 pavements are two high usage routes in the city centre. The P2 pavements include all other footways which are treated on an area basis, with a priority given to high usage and public facilities or access. Cycleways are treated as P2 footways.

Aberdeen City Council resources include:

  • 90 staff
  • Seven dedicated carriageway gritters
  • 14 demountable carriageway gritters
  • Four large tractor gritters
  • 19 footway tractor gritters
  • De-icer applicator tractor
  • 10,000 tonnes of salt in stock.

For operations, Aberdeen City Council has a robust plan which also ensures the authority and drivers comply with legislation. This includes:

  • Health and Safety – all drivers trained to SVQ level and refreshed. Radio

Communication. Compliant equipment.

  • Drivers’ Hours - maximum of 10 hours driving
  • Working Time Directive – must allow one day of rest per week or two days

per fortnight

  • Needs minimum of three drivers per route to provide compliant rota
  • Capability to cover 4 routes at any time of day or night using the response
  • Augmented through the night and at weekends by sufficient standby staff to

cover 10 priority carriageway routes and two footway routes

  • Early morning starts to cover 10 priority carriageway routes.

Today’s launch also provides a reminder to residents to join together to apply for their free 1tonne community salt bags which they can use to treat the icy roads and pavements in their neighbourhood.

The scheme, started in 2012, is designed to help communities help themselves has proven popular with residents.

The community salt bags, like the salt provided in grit bins, will be for use only in public areas. A secure and accessible area needs to be available for storing the salt bags.

There are 900 grit bins around the city which get high usage unfortunately they are difficult to service and require high labour and plant input, so the salt bags are a better alternative for communities. These are delivered free of charge prior to winter, bags are replaced as necessary and removed at the end of winter.

Any groups that would like salt for community use should contact: winter@aberdeencity.gov.uk or call ACC’s Customer Contact Centre on 03000 200 292. More information can be found on the Aberdeen City Council winter maintenance website: www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/winter