Although last winter was relatively mild, Dorset County Council’s gritting fleet was sent out on 40 occasions to keep the roads clear and safe to use.
And the highways maintenance crews are gearing up to do it all again. The busiest routes have been mapped, and there’s a plentiful supply of rock salt ready to roll out in the event of sub-zero temperatures, sleet and snow.
This follows eight months of an intense programme to repair storm-ravaged roads from last year’s winter weather. The county council submitted bids for a number of national funds and received £9m to put towards a total repair bill of £18.2m.
A recent National Highways and Transport (NHT) survey has shown that Dorset residents have seen an improvement in the condition of road surfaces and the speed of their repair.
The teams have also been clearing drains and gullies to remove blockages. The county council works closely with Wessex water and the Environment Agency to make sure that surface water can, where possible, drain away.
The county council is responsible for more than 2,500 miles of urban and rural roads.
In the winter, gritters focus on 650 miles of core routes which are used by 80 per cent of vehicles. These include primary A and B roads, links to hospitals and schools, and key bus routes.
And, depending on weather forecasts and temperature readings, the maintenance crews will often be out in the early hours while most of us are tucked up in bed.
Cllr Peter Finney, the council’s Cabinet member for environment and economy, said:
“Our teams are prepared for winter and are ready to react to the cold or wet weather. Dorset is always well prepared for this difficult period.
“Drivers can help by planning their routes before they travel so that, where possible, as much of their journey is on treated roads. This may mean a slightly longer journey time, but ultimately a safer route.”
For local, lightly used roads and pavements, parish and town councils have their own ‘community’ salt bins that can be topped up as and when required.
Find out more about gritting schedules and the routes we clear by visiting
Be prepared this winter and check before you travel with TravelDorset at www.dorsetforyou.com/traveldorset or Twitter @TravelDorset