Keeping the roads clear

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Aberdeenshire Council is gearing up for winter, with over 38,000 tonnes of salt, 1,330 grit bins, 147 gritters and ploughs and over 300 people at the ready to tackle snow and ice.

The council’s roads and landscape service maintains over 3,300 miles of roads and 930 miles of footpaths, with around 1,030 miles of roads identified as a priority network for winter treatment.

To deliver the winter services the council has 98 gritters and ploughs/snow blowers available to treat carriageways, with a further 49 footway gritter and ploughs.

They say a team of 229 people are readily available for routine winter work, and this can be expanded to 319 with staff from other parts of the council if conditions become severe.

Supporting council staff are up to 120 tractors operated by farmers, with blades supplied by the council, and 35 ploughs operated by contractors. 

These farmers and contractors provide the initial snow clearing response across the more rural network.

Councillors were told that a private radio network has now been introduced across the whole of Aberdeenshire to enable reliable communications with gritter and plough operatives and drivers.

It also provides a comprehensive record of a vehicle’s location at any point in its journey, enabling the service to easily answer queries, complaints or claims about winter road treatment. It is expected that the tracking facility will be enabled later this year.

Work has also moved forward to improve the way information is made available to the public, as well as other services within the council, with the development of new initiatives aimed at providing live information to smart phones and tablet devices.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: “Members of the public can help us maintain the best possible roads network by reporting faults and assist community resilience by doing what they can to be prepared for winter. Anyone who is interested should look at the Ready Aberdeenshire website for more information.”