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Gritters on call as overnight temperatures set to plummet

Published: Friday, 3rd November 2017

Birmingham’s gritters are set for their first call-out of the season this weekend as overnight temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing.

Gritters

The fleet are on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the beginning of October until May each year. The winter teams monitor road conditions continuously for the risk of ice. Whenever ice is likely, the 25 state-of-the-art vehicles are called into action, helping to keep priority routes, like those used by emergency services, safe. 

Luke Turner, Winter Maintenance Manager for Amey, who manage and maintain the city’s highways in partnership with Birmingham City Council, explains:

“We monitor weather stations and specialist forecasts to ensure we treat roads at the most effective time. This is usually during late evening when traffic flow is less, but before the coldest temperatures arrive.

“From call out, our gritters take just three hours to treat 750 miles of Birmingham’s busiest routes."

Luke and his team are also asking motorists to be aware of how innocent actions might put others in danger.

“One of the biggest problems we encounter when treating the roads are obstructions caused by poorly parked, or in extreme weather conditions, abandoned cars. If we cannot get our gritters past to treat the roads, then the likelihood is that emergency vehicles will struggle to get through too. We would therefore appeal to motorists to park considerately.

"We would also remind people that they should not use hot water to defrost windscreens and windows. This risks cracking the glass. It’s best to allow plenty of time to defrost with a screen heater and using de-icer and a scraper."