'Ready Spready Go' - winter service starts in earnest

16/12/2019
Chris Ames

Authorities and companies working on the English and Scottish road networks sent gritters out at the weekend as low temperatures saw significant snowfalls.

On Saturday, Highways England said it was getting ‘plenty of snow’ on the high part of the transpennine M62 between Junctions 22 and 24 and advised road users to take care when driving.

On Sunday morning, the government-owned company said snow was still falling on the motorway around Junction 22.

Later than morning, it said the 'great Yorkshire' sun was out and the snow subsiding, adding: ‘Our teams have been out and about proactively salting the roads, hopefully there's "snow way" this will happen again.’

A Highways England spokesperson told Highways: 'The snow was expected and our gritters were out all night with ploughs fitted patrolling and treating on the trans-pennine routes, A628, A66 and M62,' adding that there were a number of minor collisions between Junctions 22 and 24.

Earlier last week, motorway patrol officer PC Martin Willis reported that he had clocked an Audi driving at 115 mph on the motorway in wet and windy conditions.

Unsurprisingly, cold weather hit Scotland slightly earlier.

BEAR NW Trunk Roads, which manages Transport Scotland’s roads in the North West of the country said on Friday morning that after a busy night it would have 32 gritters out across the network - including one named Ready Spready Go which would be out for salt treatments on the A9.

The picture remained the same over the weekend. On Monday morning it said all routes had been treated overnight and that 15 gritters were out monitoring conditions and patrolling for any snow with some snow showers on several routes.

Aberdeenshire Roads said on Friday evening that all its 32 gritters would be out that evening and on Saturday morning with road surface temperatures on many routes forecast to drop below zero overnight.

The Met Office long range forecast suggests that there temperatures will remain above average over the Christmas period but with a chance of brief drier, colder interludes.

Reflecting the difficulty of long range forecasts, it says it has low confidence in forecasting the period from 29 December to mid January. It expects temperatures to be near or somewhat above average overall, but that in quieter spells, it is likely to be colder generally, with an increased risk of frost and fog.

The 29th Annual Cold Comfort conference and exhibition returns to Harrogate on 13 and 14 May 2020.

Cold Comfort Scotland 2020 takes place in Falkirk on 23 April 2020.

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