Gritters sent out as roads melt in heat

22/07/2013
Highways Reporters

Highways bosses have been forced to send out gritters onto Britain’s roads after surfaces started to melt.

With temperatures topping 30C, the heat is causing the bitumen in some roads to soften and rise to the top. This makes the surface sticky and more susceptible to pressure from heavy vehicles which can make parts of it sink, resulting in a ridge and furrow effect.

Areas where roads have been treated over the past few days include Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cornwall, Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, Glamorgan, Worcestershire and Yorkshire.

Most roads generally begin to soften when they hit a temperature of about 50C. A sunny day in the high 20Cs can be enough to generate 50C on the ground as the dark asphalt absorbs a lot of heat, steadily raising its temperature throughout the day.

Spreading rock dust or sand absorbs the soft bitumen, stabilising the surface of the road and making it less sticky and susceptible to warping.

Similar problems have been reported in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Gwynedd in Wales.

Pembrokeshire Council has been forced to carry out emergency repairs to one of the main roads in Tenby.

The surface of a section of the A4218 known as Broadwell Hayes - between Serpentine Road towards The Green - started breaking up in the hot weather.

Speaking to the BBC, councillor Rob Lewis, council cabinet member for highways and planning, said: "There is no doubt that the recent spell of extremely hot weather is responsible for the deterioration of the surface.

"It is very regrettable that we have to carry out this work on one of the busiest roads into Tenby at the start of the school holidays but we really have no choice. It would not be in the interests of safety to leave repairs until September."

Cllr Peter Box, chair of the Local Government Association’s economy and transport board, added: “Snow and ice are the last thing on most people’s minds at the moment and I’m sure there’s been a lot of head-scratching if they’ve seen our gritters out on the roads in the height of summer. However, our gritting teams are once again playing a vital role in keeping the country’s roads safe for motorists.

“This proactive work helps reduce the potential damage high temperatures can inflict on our roads, so keeping them safe and limiting disruption. Councils will continue to monitor road temperatures and once the weather cools will begin carrying out repairs if needed.”

The last time there was widespread treating of roads by council gritters during the summer was in 2006 when temperatures reached the mid 30Cs.
Highways jobs

Head of Asset Management (Regeneration & Environment)

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£55,856 - £59,773
We have a current vacancy for the role of Head of Asset Management, and we are looking for a dynamic individual to lead the service Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recruiter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Environmental Education Assistant

Brent Council
£22,779 - £24,030 p.a. inc. (pro-rata)
Looking for instructors who complement our enthusiastic, motivated and friendly staff team. Brent, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Structures Asset Manager

Kent County Council
£52,713 - £58,774 per annum (salary dependent on experience) 
If you have the ability to succeed in either of these roles and are able to prioritise competing demands and objectives, coupled with... Ashford, Kent
Recruiter: Kent County Council

Structures Senior Engineer

Kent County Council
Starting salary £33,082 per annum
Providing engineering support for maintenance of highway structures, liaising and working closely across KCC. Ashford, Kent
Recruiter: Kent County Council

Development Management Engineer

Warwickshire County Council
£37,849 - £39,782 per annum
The successful applicant for this post will be capable of taking the lead on work within the team associated with... Warwickshire
Recruiter: Warwickshire County Council

Permit Officer – Place

Enfield London Borough Council
£27,228 - £29,241
You will have the ability to understand and learn relevant legislation and be able to work on your own initiative but also work as part of... Enfield (London Borough), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Enfield London Borough Council

Senior Policy Planner

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£32,643 – £45,704 depending on skills
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Strategic Manager Highways and Transport

Isle of Wight Council
£65,620.00 to £70,915.00
Are you are looking for an ambitious and rewarding career move to one of the best places to live and work in the country? Isle of Wight
Recruiter: Isle of Wight Council

Community Services Manager

Copeland Borough Council
Competitive Salary
Looking for an energised and enthusiastic candidate to lead and focus the service through the challenges set by the Resources and Waste Strategy. Moresby, Whitehaven
Recruiter: Copeland Borough Council

Highways Infrastructure and Maintenance Manager - Highways Network

Bridgend County Borough Council
£37,813 - £40,760 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arrived inside the Highway Asset Maintenance Team within the Communities Directorate. Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recruiter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Business Support Officers - Transport Team (2 Jobs)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
Within the Transport Team you will be required to work flexibly in accordance with the needs of the service, which can men... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Transportation Planning Manager

Brent Council
£55,638 - £58,779 p.a. inc.
ou will have an excellent knowledge and understanding of transport policy at both local and national level. Expertise of both people and... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Commercial Contract Supervisor

Wirral Borough Council
£30,507 to £32,878
No holding back. No excuses. Just change Wirral. Wirral, Merseyside
Recruiter: Wirral Borough Council

Technical Officer – Pest Control

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £23,836
This job is temporary for up to 11 months from the date of appointment to cover the absence of the current post holder. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Divisional Director Neighbourhoods & Sustainability

Glasgow City Council
£83,708 - £95,232 (LDR3a, Grade 11)
This innovative role will contribute to the Council Strategic Plan Theme of A Sustainable Low Carbon City Glasgow, Glasgow City
Recruiter: Glasgow City Council

Business Support Officer - Bereavement Services

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£18,795 - £19,171
You will be required to work front line with customers who are ordering memorials, our customers may be... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32.029 - £34.788
We seek an enthusiastic and experienced traffic engineer to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recruiter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Principal Transport Manager

Be First
Competitive Salary
As our Principal Transport Manager, you will deliver the Local Implementation Plan, ensuring the £2.4million TFL budget is used effectively London (Central), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Be First

Highway Operations Manager

Croydon London Borough Council
£43,590 - £45,585
We are seeking an enthusiastic, motivated and well organised highway operations manager Croydon (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Croydon London Borough Council

Structures and Watercourse Manager

Croydon London Borough Council
Competitve
We are seeking an enthusiastic, motivated and well organised manager to look over the structures team and wider Highway section. Croydon (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Croydon London Borough Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Valuing our roads: What is a network worth?

Also inside:

Traffex review 

Diary of a flood.

Beautiful roads

Live Labs exclusive briefing 

View the latest issue

Latest Video