The County Council’s gritting teams have been out on the roads preparing for the cold weather due this weekend.
Last night teams were out from 11pm, gritting primary roads as road temperatures dropped to -1c. After a day of rain, arctic air rolled in and temperatures fell below freezing, meaning a full road grit was necessary.
Gritters then returned to base to refill and headed to secondary roads to grit, working through the night until the early hours.
More cold and icy weather is forecast for the weekend and the highways teams will be carrying out full gritting tonight from 6pm, on primary roads. The road temps are expected to fall to 3c overnight with a cold and foggy morning to follow.
The teams are well prepared. Over the summer months, various highways depots that cover the whole county were re-stocked with over 14000 tonnes of salt, which includes a 5,000 tonne reserve in case of an unusually harsh winter.
The Worcestershire Highways fleet of 32 gritting vehicles and the teams that drive them, cover Worcestershire's 1000 miles of designated roads. Last winter, the teams clocked up more than 50,000 miles across the county. That's the equivalent of more than twice around the world.
The Council have also checked the county's 1,320 grit bins to ensure they are full. The grit bins are available across the county of Worcestershire and maintained with stocks of a salt/grit mixture. They are provided for use on the public highway only (including footways).
The start of the gritting season also means the Twitter account for roads and highways @worcstravel will go into ‘#GritterTwitter’ mode, with a daily update on where and when the gritters could be going out. For the latest information on this and to keep up to date on all the news from the gritting teams follow @WorcsTravel.
Jon Fraser, of Worcestershire County Council Highways said; "Our gritting teams do a fantastic job keeping Worcestershire moving throughout the winter months. They work in difficult conditions when it can be dark, icy and snowy. While most of us are asleep, they head out to help keep the county's roads open and safe. But grit is not a magic cure-all.
We encourage drivers to always drive safely and carefully in adverse weather conditions, slow down and allow extra time for journeys, even when roads have been treated."
There's a variety of information about gritting operations online, including interactive maps which show designated gritting routes. Residents can also find their nearest grit bin on the gritting routes page of the Council website.