Aberdeenshire’s 24-hour winter operations room is now up and running and gritters, salt and roads staff are all ready to go.
Weather forecasts and road surface temperatures will be monitored around the clock to allow crews to react as quickly as possible to changing conditions.
Some of the conditions experienced last year were unprecedented and the roads service’s approach to winter has been reviewed over the last year to try to improve on performance.
While it can be impossible to keep all surfaces clear and free of ice at all times, a number of changes have been made to try to minimise the impact of severe weather.
More than 210 staff and over 100 vehicles are geared up to provide support.
The council also contracts around 120 local farmers to help maintain minor and rural roads when necessary.
More than 22,500 tonnes of salt has been stockpiled in storage locations across Aberdeenshire and will be topped-up during the winter depending on usage.
The council typically uses around 45,000 tonnes of salt each year to ensure that the region’s 3,300 mile road network remains safe for drivers.
The aim is to keep priority one roads passable at all times unless weather conditions are abnormally severe.
As well as looking after the region’s roads, the council will also treat footways and cycle paths.
To allow residents to self-treat nearby roads and footways there are around 1,750 grit bins located across Aberdeenshire – 350 more than last year.
Peter Arygll, chairman of the council’s infrastructure services committee, said: “Now that winter has arrived, our residents and commuters should be assured that we are highly prepared.
“But we are also realistic and looking back at last winter, when there are extreme conditions we do the best we can, and road users have to be aware of those conditions and drive accordingly, sometimes not at all.
“As ever, our teams will be working tirelessly over the winter period to ensure our roads, footways and cycle paths remain safe and passable for travellers whenever possible and we will continue to look to improve the service we provide with the resources available to us.”
For more information on the council’s winter maintenance programme see bit.ly/grittingroutes.
To see the council’s planned gritting for each day, go to bit.ly/GritterInteractive.
For information on road closures and restrictions, see bit.ly/closures_rest.