When do we send the gritters out?
What information do we receive?
It is the road surface temperatures that the gritters are concerned with, not the air temperature. A number of factors can affect surface temperature. The information we receive includes predicted rain, probability of snow and other winter weather conditions within the West Midlands.
In addition to forecasts, we operate 10 weather stations around the city and have access to the information from a further 25 stations owned by our neighbouring authorities.
Planned gritting takes place at the most effective time to prevent ice or frost from forming on the carriageways. This is frequently late at night or in the very early morning when temperatures are approaching their lowest. Where possible, we try to avoid gritting during rush hours however; during very severe weather reactive gritting is undertaken whenever necessary.
How long does it take to grit?
It takes 3 to 4 hours to grit the priority network in Birmingham.
During snowy weather
Salt is spread before snow fall. It will not stop snow settling, but speeds up melting with the action of car tyres moving over it. During continuous snowfall more salt is spread to further assist the thawing process, and to replace salt washed away with snow that has already melted.
Winter weather advice
Read our advice on staying safe in winter weather.
Sending out the snowploughs
We are also able to plough accumulations of snow. For every 50mm that falls in Birmingham, 1.4 million cubic metres of snow has to be cleared from the priority gritting network. That’s enough to fill 22 Rotundas!