What we do to keep footpaths free of snow

Eddie Fellows, Highways Network Director for Amey's Birmingham operation, blogs on the work done to keep the city's footpaths clear during snow...

There has been a lot of interest and comment in what we do to keep footpaths clear during adverse weather like this week's snow in Birmingham. Here is a summary of the key points of our plan to treat them when wintry weather hits our region:

  • The priority for our winter service is to keep the main roads accessible for emergency vehicles and public transport.
  • There are approximately 5,000km of publicly maintained footways in Birmingham. The highest footfall areas in the City Centre and Sutton Coldfield centre are treated as a priority in poor conditions – but we simply cannot treat all the footway network. During this current spell, the priority footways have been treated on 14 occasions. 
  • As resources become available once priority routes and footways are treated, we then begin to treat other high-footfall areas such as high streets and shopping areas. Areas around Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Northfield, Harborne and Kings Heath High Streets have been treated during this current period of wintery weather, with consideration given to areas where there are doctors surgeries and other essential services.
  • Footway gritting is generally done in the early hours of the morning (4am) as this is the best time to ensure the public are kept safe.
  • In Birmingham, we have a fleet of 3 specialist quad bikes and 10 push along spreaders to treat footway areas. Other teams work on footways spreading salt ‘by hand’ with shovels.
  • 1260 grit bins are available across Birmingham. Salt in grit bins can be used by anyone for treating public roads and footways. As and when required, over half of these have been refilled with 245 tonnes of salt during this current wintery spell. That means the public have had access to 686 tonnes of grit to help their communities!
  • Members of the public are urged to take extra care in prolonged wintery conditions and make use of the resources available.
  • One tablespoon of salt (20 grams) is sufficient to treat one square metre of road or pavement.
  • Information on Birmingham’s highways in winter, gritting routes, are available on Birmingham City Council’s website: www.birmingham.gov.uk/gritting 

This blog was posted on 13 December 2017


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