Aberdeenshire Council sets winter operations in motion

Aberdeenshire Council is again putting its winter operations into motion to ensure it can respond to whatever the weather throws at it in the coming months.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 8:16 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 8:16 am
The council's fleet of 55 gritters, support vehicles and around 300 dedicated Roads and Landscape staff are ready no matter what the weather.

The authority’s frontline teams were praised for the role they played in supporting critical services as a result of the then Covid-19 restrictions and heavy snowfall.

Once again, the council is readying its fleet of 55 gritters, support vehicles and around 300 dedicated Roads and Landscape staff to ensure residents and businesses can travel and operate as freely as possible through potentially challenging conditions.

Depot salt stocks are at full capacity and will continue to be restocked by suppliers throughout the winter.

Local farmers will also play their part in keeping  minor rural roads clear of snow.

The council's Roads team carefully monitors both weather forecasts and actual road surface temperatures to ensure crews react as quickly as possible to changing conditions.

And, while it is impossible to keep all surfaces clear and free of snow and ice at all times, lessons learned from previous years are routinely implemented in a bid to minimise the impact of severe weather.

In addition, the council has contracts in place with around 120 local farmers who will help clear snow from minor rural roads wherever necessary.

In terms of Aberdeenshire' s roads network, all routes are categorised into appropriate priority levels with the primary network being made up of 32 different routes covering 1,081 miles – around 30 per cent of the region's entire road network.

Mostly ‘A’ and ‘B’ class roads, the primary network also include a number of busy commuter routes which keep Aberdeenshire’s main towns and villages connected.

Aberdeenshire Council's over-riding aim is to keep priority one roads passable at all times unless weather conditions are particularly severe. To achieve that these roads will always be gritted before any others.

Philip McKay, Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services, said: “With winter conditions approaching, preparations by our maintenance support teams are kicking into top gear. Our winter maintenance operational teams, farmers, contractors and snow wardens are also readying themselves for the winter season ahead.

“We have been busy in recent weeks restocking all depots with salt and sand, with all plant and equipment undergoing rigorous inspections in readiness for the months ahead.”

In addition to looking after the region’s roads, the council is gearing up to treat footpaths and cycle routes which are also prioritised. The intention is to keep footways in busy urban areas in as safe a condition for pedestrians as possible.

Self help by communities is also an important element of the winter maintenance approach. Around 1,750 grit bins are located across Aberdeenshire to enable residents to self-treat nearby roads and footways.

Aberdeenshire council will also be trialing its new QR code service for grit bins – your mobile phone can take you direct to the council’s grit refilling functions, allowing for faster processing and restocking times.