Heavy metal brigade ready for winter roads

transport bosses today promised to do everything they can to prevent a repeat of the chaotic winter scenes of two years ago - and they have brought in a new heavyweight helper.

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Transport Scotland gets ready for winter
Transport Scotland gets ready for winter

The severe winter of 2010 saw motorways and many trunk roads in Glasgow and west and central Scotland brought to a standstill as snowdrifts trapped drivers in their cars and lorries for 48 hours.

Contractor Amey works on behalf of Transport Scotland to maintain the trunk roads and the major routes it covers include the M74, M73, M8, A75 and A725.

It also covers the M80 from Glasgow to Stepps, although Bear Scotland looks after Stepps to Stirling. These two sections were the worst affected of all motorways in the 2010 snow crisis.

With a total of 36 gritters across the network, Amey covers a total of 643 miles (1035 kilometres) of roads and also the major bridges, including the Erskine and Kingston Bridges, which are sprayed with a special anti-freeze to help ensure metal bridge joints do not erode.

But its new weapon is a 32-tonne 'super gritter, which is one of the heaviest road- legal vehicles in service. It can carry 12 cubic metres of salt, 20% more than the largest standard gritter in use on the country's roads.

The Econ super-gritter uses pre-wet salt, which gets to work more quickly on road surfaces to prevent ice forming.

It can also be used to spread the de-icer magnesium chloride brine on roads, which is used when temperatures fall below -7°C.

It also has a technologically advanced sensor that continuously assesses air and surface temperature and moisture to ensure the right quantity of salt is distributed on each section of road.

Colin MacKenzie, operating company representative in south west Scotland for Amey, said: "We have a full team of experienced gritter drivers, many of whom have been gritting the network for several years.

"These guys really help keep the roads open and running. When required these drivers can work round the clock to grit or plough the roads.

"We get regular weather reports through from the Met Office and, using these, we decide when and what we will grit, or if it is perhaps necessary to go back out and do a second or third grit, depending on the weather conditions. "

"Over and above this, we also have the Trunk Incident Support Service, which operates throughout the year. The crew here help drivers who have broken down, or run out of petrol, making sure we keep the network running smoothly."

Glasgow is the base for the Multi Agency Response Team, which includes representatives from Traffic Scotland, Transport Scotland, police, rail operators, road operating companies and the Met Office.

From the base, road and weather conditions are monitored round the clock and the appropriate steps are taken to treat at risk areas.

Scotland's Transport Minister Keith Brown has praised the response from most drivers to the most recent severe weather, but has also warned everyone must be prepared to deal with whatever the weather has in store.

Mr Brown said: "The Scottish Government's Resilience Room and Transport Scotland's Multi Agency Response Team are ready to co-ordinate activity across the network and address any wider severe weather impacts whenever conditions need a national response.

"We are monitoring the daily situation, particularly in relation to key areas of transport, utilities and flooding.

"In the run-up to the recent first widespread snowfall of winter, we saw a wide range of agencies and organisations working together and reacting quickly to weather alerts to put in place their response plans.

"This activity plays its part in keeping disruption to a minimum in difficult conditions.

"The travelling public deserves praise for the way it has reacted and behaved to date and we hope people continue to plan their winter journeys.

"However, no-one is being complacent and while the weather alerts remain in place over winter, the focused response will continue."

l For real time journey information see www.traffic scotland.org, follow @trafficscotland on Twitter or call 0800 0281414.

l The full alerts, including the chief forecaster's assessment and a map showing the areas included in the alerts, are available at: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/

l Rail, ferries and air users should check the websites of individual service operators.

l For flooding alerts, see: www.sepa.org.uk

ewan.fergus@ eveningtimes.co.uk

l Transport Scotland says the Winter Service is being strengthened in three crucial areas: Road user information, treatments and decision making.

l The Winter Service looks after 2000 miles of trunk road in Scotland, which carry 37% of Scotland's traffic and 62% of the country's HGVs.

l The country's roads have an asset value of £15.7billion.

l The Winter Service operations involve more than 38 depots and more than 230 vehicles, 190 of which are gritters, including ploughs and spreaders.

l Last winter 645,000 tonnes of salt were used on Scotland's roads, with 107,000 tonnes of that being used on the trunk roads.

l At the moment, about 80,000 tonnes of salt, 75% of last year's trunk roads usage, is currently held by the operating companies.

l Six new weather stations are being commissioned for this winter and a further 24 of the existing stations will have cameras added.

l When the new weather stations are commissioned, 64 of the 141 will have camera coverage.

transport bosses today promised to do everything they can to prevent a repeat of the chaotic winter scenes of two years ago - and they have brought in a new heavyweight helper.

The severe winter of 2010 saw motorways and many trunk roads in Glasgow and west and central Scotland brought to a standstill as snowdrifts trapped drivers in their cars and lorries for 48 hours.

Contractor Amey works on behalf of Transport Scotland to maintain the trunk roads and the major routes it covers include the M74, M73, M8, A75 and A725.

It also covers the M80 from Glasgow to Stepps, although Bear Scotland looks after Stepps to Stirling. These two sections were the worst affected of all motorways in the 2010 snow crisis.

With a total of 36 gritters across the network, Amey covers a total of 643 miles (1035 kilometres) of roads and also the major bridges, including the Erskine and Kingston Bridges, which are sprayed with a special anti-freeze to help ensure metal bridge joints do not erode.

But its new weapon is a 32-tonne 'super gritter, which is legally one of the heaviest vehicles on the roads. It can carry 12 cubic metres of salt, 20% more than the largest standard gritter in use on the country's roads.

The Econ super-gritter uses pre-wet salt, which gets to work more quickly on road surfaces to prevent ice forming.

It can also be used to spread the de-icer magnesium chloride brine on roads, which is used when temperatures fall below -7°C.

It also has a technologically advanced sensor that continuously assesses air and surface temperature and moisture to ensure the right quantity of salt is distributed on every section of road.

Colin MacKenzie, operating company representative in south west Scotland for Amey, said: "We have a full team of experienced gritter drivers, many of whom have been gritting the network for several years.

"These guys really help keep the roads open and running. When required these drivers can work round the clock to grit or plough the roads.

"We get regular weather reports through from the Met Office and, using these, we decide when and what we will grit, or if it is perhaps necessary to go back out and do a second or third grit, depending on the weather conditions. "

"Over and above this, we also have the Trunk Incident Support Service, which operates throughout the year. The crew here help drivers who have broken down, or run out of petrol, making sure we keep the network running smoothly."

Glasgow is the base for the Multi Agency Response Team, which includes representatives from Traffic Scotland, Transport Scotland, police, rail operators, road operating companies and the Met Office.

From the base, road and weather conditions are monitored round the clock and the appropriate steps are taken to treat at risk areas.

Scotland's Transport Minister Keith Brown has praised the response from most drivers to the most recent severe weather, but has also warned everyone must be prepared to deal with whatever the weather has in store.

Mr Brown said: "The Scottish Government's Resilience Room and Transport Scotland's Multi Agency Response Team are ready to co-ordinate activity across the network and address any wider severe weather impacts whenever conditions need a national response.

"We are monitoring the daily situation, particularly in relation to key areas of transport, utilities and flooding.

"In the run-up to the recent first widespread snowfall of winter, we have seen a wide range of agencies and organisations working together and reacting quickly to weather alerts to put in place their response plans.

"This activity plays its part in keeping disruption to a minimum in difficult conditions.

"The travelling public deserves praise for the way it has reacted and behaved to date and we hope people continue to plan their winter journeys.

"However, no-one is being complacent and while the weather alerts remain in place over winter, the focused response will continue."

l For real time journey information see www.traffic scotland.org, follow @trafficscotland on Twitter or call 0800 0281414.

l The full alerts, including the chief forecaster's assessment and a map showing the areas included in the alerts, are available at: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/

l Rail, ferries and air users should check the websites of individual service operators.

l For flooding alerts, see: www.sepa.org.uk

ewan.fergus@ eveningtimes.co.uk

WHAT IS BEING DONE THIS WINTER ...

:: Transport Scotland says the Winter Service is being strengthened in three crucial areas: Road user information, treatments and decision making.

:: The Winter Service looks after 2000 miles of trunk road in Scotland, which carry 37% of Scotland's traffic and 62% of the country's HGVs.

:: The country's roads have an asset value of £15.7billion.

:: The Winter Service operations involve more than 38 depots and over 230 vehicles, 190 of which are gritters, including ploughs and spreaders.

:: Last winter 645,000 tonnes of salt were used on Scotland's roads, with 107,000 tonnes of that being used on the trunk roads.

:: At the moment, about 80,000 tonnes of salt, 75% of last year's trunk roads usage, is currently held by the operating companies.

:: Six new weather stations are being commissioned for this winter and a further 24 of the existing stations will have cameras added.

:: When the new weather stations are commissioned, 64 of the 141 will have cameras coverage.

Weather

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