All about Gritting the UK’s roads!

Have you ever wondered how the really tough winter job of keeping our roads, pavements, airports, train stations and car parks running efficiently during bad weather is performed?

Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of the state of road gritting in the UK today:-

How do Gritters know when to act?

High Tech Sensors can nowadays measure a multitude of stats such as road and air temperature, rain, dew and salt levels.

GPS is also now being used widely to provide pinpoint detailed ice predictions by actual geographical location.

Many Local Authorities will use this collected ‘real world’ data to help them to decide when to send out the road gritters

Where does Britian’s Gritting salt come from?

The United Kingdom currently has three major salt mines, two of these are on the British mainland and one is located in Northern Ireland.

Local Authorities would normally pre-order the amount of rock salt that they calculate will be necessary for the coming season. They would also aim to store the bulk of their needs ready for use, whenever it is needed.

What does rock salt actually do?

Rock salt works by preventing ice from forming in the first place.

It will melt existing snow and ice but works best when in solution with existing surface water.

Passing vehicles, and pedestrians, will improve its effectiveness as they ground down the rock salt particles, helping them mix with any surface water, slush, ice or snow.

How do councils know where to Grit?

In the UK, Local Councils are not normally able to grit every street in their area!

The priority will usually be the major road network, which is normally that used by public transport.

Important roads, such as those to airports, local hospitals and other emergency services will be given first priority.

When the local authority has completed the ‘tier 1’ road network, other roads to facilities such as schools and town centres will often be gritted next.