Gritters on standby as Highways Agency prepares for winter’s bite

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The Highways Agency in the East is ready and prepared for when winter bites.

The agency is urging every driver to take action to ensure they too are prepared for driving in winter weather.

Agency winter manager, Andy Shilliday, said: “The Highways Agency in the East region is well-prepared for winter. We have 14 depots across the region, including the biggest salt barn at Birchanger, which can hold up to 5,500 tonnes of almost 22,000 tonnes of salt across the East. We have 60 salt spreading vehicles and 70 ploughs.

“We use detailed weather forecasts and treat the road network before road temperatures fall below freezing, often at night in preparation for peak traffic periods. But that doesn’t mean people should drive as they normally would, in severe weather drivers need to take care and plan ahead.

“We will do all we can to keep the roads open during severe weather but if drivers can carry out a few simple vehicle checks, pack a few important winter items in their vehicles and plan journeys, we can work together to keep the regions roads moving.”

The Highways Agency provides real-time traffic information for the motorways and other strategic roads in England using a range of channels, including the web, social media and through national and local radio stations.

Nationally the Highways Agency has a winter fleet of over 500 winter vehicles working around the clock from 100 depots located across England, allowing quick access all parts of the strategic road network.

The Agency encourages drivers to take some simple steps during winter:

Check your vehicle – fuel and fluid levels, electrics and tyres – before setting out.

Be prepared with an emergency kit in your vehicle, including ice-scraper, de-icer, warm clothes and blankets, torch, boots, first aid kit, jump leads, a spade, a road atlas and sunglasses (for the winter glare).

Plan your journeys. Check weather and travel conditions before and during your journey.

If the weather is very severe, consider whether your journey is essential or travel at a different time. In winter, the weather can change quickly so always be prepared for bad weather

Remember that even when roads have been treated with salt, ice can still form, particularly on bends or under overhanging trees.

For more advice on being ready for severe weather, visit the ‘Get ready for Winter’ pages at: www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/get-ready-for-winter/out-and-about/road.

For detailed information on local and national weather conditions, visit the Met Office website (www.metoffice.gov.uk) or listen to local radio broadcast.