Winter roads plan for Caithness confirmed
Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in Caithness are being urged to be aware of The Highland Council’s council gritting plans in their area for the winter.
Highland Council’s priorities for gritting roads within the Caithness area this winter have been approved by Members at a meeting of the Caithness Committee held on Tuesday 22 November 2016.
Councillor Roger Saxon, Chairman of the Caithness Committee said: “We have worked hard to ensure that the Council’s Winter Services Policy is as responsive as it can be to local needs and circumstances within the given amount of resources available to us.
“People in Caithness are not surprised when it snows but we all need to be prepared and know when and where Highland Council gritters will be on our roads. I therefore urge everyone, whether they drive a vehicle, cycle or walk, to be ready for winter and to know the gritting priority routes for our area. Gritters can’t be everywhere at once, but wherever possible they will be keeping our roads and pavements clear in accordance with our local policy.”
Caithness area has its own Winter Maintenance Plan which sets out operational details to deliver a service and comply with council policy.
135 km of Primary routes are treated first followed by secondary routes (222km) and crews will treat other roads (49km as resources permit and only after primary and secondary route treatments are completed. The policy and gritting route priorities map for Caithness approved by members today can be viewed on the council’s website at: http://www.highland.gov.uk/download/meetings/id/71197/item_6_roads_winter_maintenance_plan_201617
The council’s weather forecast provider (Meteo Group Ltd) provides daily and 5 day weather forecasts which support local winter maintenance decision making. In addition to this across the Highlands real time data is obtained from 30 icealert sites. In Caithness a Duty Officer rota is in place to ensure that there is always an experienced member of staff available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to take decisions on the deployment of resources to deal with the prevailing weather conditions.
Twenty five council staff are involved in the provision of a winter maintenance service in the area including 1 Operational Support Officer, 1 Foreperson, an Inspector, a Senior Engineer, a Technician, 10 Operatives based in the Thurso Depot and a further 10 Operatives based in Wick with support from local Amenity / Streets and Waste Operatives. The staff have 10 front-line gritters and 4 footpath tractors to deliver the service.
The average amount of salt used in Caithness each year is approximately 6,000 tonnes and the authority has around 60,000 tonnes in stock throughout Highland and has no concerns about salt supplies.
The public are reminded that they can apply for grit bins and community self-help through the Council’s ‘Winter Resilience Aid’ programme, details of which are on the council’s website at:http://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/download/836/winter_resilience_community_aid