THE city council has unveiled its beefed-up extreme weather survival plan after widespread criticism last winter.

The local authority came under fire for failing to adequately grit roads and pavements as the cold snap took hold in January and February – with some side streets branded ‘no go areas’ even before snow fell.

The city ground to a halt completely during March’s Beast from the East when thousands of workers were told to stay at home amid the city’s first red ‘risk to life’ warning.

The local authority is still counting the cost of the damage, with £11.6m ploughed into repairing more than 80kms of roads.

Nevertheless, workers will unload up to 24,000 tonnes of grit onto surfaces in the coming months, with the city’s A and B class roads, steep hills and Buchanan Bus Station were identified as a top priority.

City centre pavements on streets including Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street will be included in a list of high pedestrian traffic areas to be gritted as a top priority.

The move comes despite complaints too much focus had been placed on city centre streets while outlying residential areas missed out last winter.

In line with previous years, the council will place and fill 1,487 grit bins across Glasgow to help the public help themselves.

There will also be 18 permanent night shift drivers tasked with gritting carriageways to keep the city moving.

Despite predictions of months of extreme weather, the council insists it will be ready for the expected tough conditions this winter.

George Gillespie, the council’s executive director of neighbourhoods and sustainability, said: “The gritting of the road network will be carried out mainly by night shift operatives based at land and environmental services’ Gartcraig depot.

“Road network gritting will also be undertaken during normal hours as and when required.

“The gritting of the footway and cycleway network will be carried out by operatives during the day shift but with the ability to start at 5.30am when required.

“This winter, 18 permanent nightshift drivers will be on duty on any given night and when necessary, this number can be increased.

“Their primary duty is driving large carriageway gritting vehicles as required by the weather conditions.

“When carriageway gritting is not required, the drivers can be used for cleansing, lighting, emergency response and any other duties directed by management.”

As well as the roads, the council has also drawn-up a list of priority pavements and cycle lanes.

Shopping centres outwith the city centre and school access routes will be first on the list for pavement gritting.

Teams will also target cycle paths between the south west of the city through to Kelvingrove Park.

George Gillespie, the council’s executive director of neighbourhoods and sustainability, said: “The pre-salting of priority one carriageways, footways and cycle ways will be instructed should the domain-based weather forecast predict that ice or snow is likely to be present on road surfaces.“During such sustained periods of freezing conditions, all available operational resources, such as roads, parks and cleansing, will be deployed to salting an/or snow clearing operations.

“Arrangements are in place to call upon sub-contractors as and when conditions dictate.”

Last month it was revealed that 688 pothole related claims were made against the council between April 2017 and April 2018 – 239 more than in 2016/17.

Much of that was blamed on the harsh conditions throughout January and February.

Several Glasgow City Council schools had to be closed for a number of days during last winter’s extreme conditions, and when schools did eventually reopen, parents claimed the roads and pavements were still to dangerous.

However, the local authority insists it will battle to ensure all schools remain open as normal throughout the coming winter.

Parents were advised to monitor social media for updates on whether their child’s school would be able to open during the snowstorms.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “It is always our aim to ensure that schools open as normal.

“We do everything we can to resolve the problems that can arise before a decision to close a school is taken.

“We fully understand the inconvenience caused by a late closure and so a school closure is the last resort.

“But there can be emergency situations such as a lack of heating or water or extreme weather events where a closure is unfortunately unavoidable.

“In all instances the safety of pupils and staff is always our prime concern.

“Unless it is stated otherwise, it is always the position that a school will open as normal.”