Winter Maintenance Plan approved for Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh
The priorities by which The Highland Council will treat roads in Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh this winter have been approved.
Each year local areas put in place their own Winter Maintenance Plan to cover the operational details in order to deliver a service locally within existing budget and resources.
At the Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh Committee meeting today (Thursday 19 August) members approved a 2021/22 winter maintenance plan for the area which includes priority road lists and maps showing the priority gritting routes.
Across Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh there are 268kms of primary routes, 221km of secondary routes and 4308km of other routes and these will be treated using 15 front-line gritters with footpath tractors also available to treat villages.
In line with operations last year, the treatment of roads will be carried out based on a hierarchical system dependant on route priority and the gritting services will operate 7 days a week including Saturdays and Sundays.
Primary routes are treated first, followed by secondary routes and crews will only move on to treat other roads when the primary and secondary routes are all completed.
The time taken to complete the treatment of routes will vary from day to day depending on actual weather conditions and can be expected to increase significantly during periods of severe weather due to having to plough both sides of the road.
A team of 27 full time dedicated winter roads operatives will be delivering services across the Ward from a number of depots. The council will operate a rota to ensure that there is always a qualified and experienced member of local staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take decisions on the deployment of appropriate resources to deal with the weather conditions
The average annual usage of salt for Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh area is approximately 7500 tonnes. Members of the Committee were advised by the Roads Manager that the council is well prepared with sufficient stocks of salt in all its depots.
Committee Chair, Cllr Ian Cockburn said: “It is impossible to try to predict what weather we will have over the winter months, but we are lucky to have a hard working and dedicated team of local staff who go out in the worst of wintry conditions to provide the best service they can.
“The plan of routes and priorities we have agreed will be closely monitored over the coming winter months to make sure we can respond to extreme conditions and use all available resources to the best effect.”
The Council is encouraging communities to “self-help” as much as possible and to generate awareness of people within their community that may need assistance from neighbours in clearing snow and ice or possibly shopping or accessing health and social services during extreme weather conditions. The Council’s ‘’Winter Resilience’’ scheme allows communities to submit an application via their community council to carry out footway gritting operations within an agreed area with the Council providing salt/grit, bins, scrapers and reflective waistcoats.
Applications for the Winter Resilience scheme can be made at: https://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/download/836/winter_resilience_community_aid
The leaflets and Policy information are provided on the “Winter Maintenance” pages on the Council’s web site https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/20005/roads_and_pavements/107/winter_road_maintenance/2