DCC gritters out in force to keep roads clear

DEVON County Council s gritters and white out fleet are out in force again this morning having worked through the night to keep the county s roads as clear as possible.

DEVON County Council's gritters and "white out" fleet are out in force again this morning having worked through the night to keep the county's roads as clear as possible.

The major routes on the pre-salting network, covering 1,650 miles of the county's roads have been treated repeatedly overnight and throughout this morning. More than 1,000 tonnes of salt has been used on the county's roads over the past 24 hours.

With a band of snow in the north and more pushing slowly across the county west to east, and falling heavy in places, secondary routes are also currently being treated again across Devon. The County's white out fleet has also been deployed to plough snow from roads in north and west Devon.

Devon County Council Leader Brian Greenslade has issued a "thank you" to frontline public sector workers who have helped keep Devon moving through the snowy conditions.

He said: "I would particularly like to say a big thank you to Devon County Council and South West Highways workers who have been on duty day and night trying to keep main routes passable. Conditions have been very bad with temperatures dropping to minus 8 C in some places so it's no fun being out of doors. The front line staff have been backed by the team at the County Hall Control Centre and Local Services Offices. Not everywhere can be reached right away but my information is that most main routes have remained in use with extreme care.

"In addition there are other public service employees like the blue light services Police, Fire and Ambulance who have also had to be out and about in very poor conditions and I know that health and care workers have also been struggling around to look after their patients and clients.

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"The broadcasting organisations like Radio Devon have been of tremendous value to the community with information and like with others, staff have had to battle into their studios. So a big thank you to all concerned for your efforts on our behalf."

The majority of roads across the county are passable with extreme care, but the north of the county has been hardest hit.

Devon County Council is also liaising with emergency services in order for any abandoned vehicles to be recovered so that gritters are not hampered from keeping routes clear.

Councillor Margaret Rogers, Devon County Council Executive Member for Environment, said: "County Council and South West Highways staff have worked tremendously hard over the past 24 hours and they must be applauded for their efforts. The County Council is doing everything possible to keep our roads clear but it's worth reminding everyone that we cannot treat every road or footway. People should walk with care and of course motorists should drive with extreme care and never assume a road has been salted."

The County Council's Highway Operations and Control Centre is currently triple staffed to co-ordinate the extra volume of work on the road network. The centre is staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year and is fully equipped to monitor how the weather is affecting the road by using state-of-the-art technology including radar and satellite images, and a network of roadside ice detectors to provide information on road conditions.

Devon County Council is responsible for 8,000 miles of roads - the biggest network of any local authority in the country.

Motorists are being reminded of the following advice:

* Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures;

* Never assume a road has been salted - remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice. In very cold weather even salting will not stop ice from forming;

* Allow extra time for your journey and reduce your speed;

* Drive with care and according to the conditions