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15 June 2010, 06:00
Hertfordshire County Council has been reviewing the recent severe winter we had, and has been discussing what improvements can be made in case it the snow and freezing temperatures make a return this year.
Hertfordshire highways official winter period started on October 1st 2009 and ended on April 30th 2010.
Over the winter there were 78 nights when temperatures went below zero, with a salting run being carried out on each occasion.
Many of these salting runs took place in the middle of the night and 28 salting runs were made during the Christmas period. On top of this, gritter drivers had over 50 days when they were on standby but no action was needed.
For 27 days, over 50 percent of the county was under snow. The call centre took nearly 8,000 phone calls from residents who had queries relating to their winter service and there were over a million hits on the council’s website.
All the salting and clearing of roads and pavements cost a total of £3,826,940.59.
The Executive Member for Highways and Transport, Stuart Pile, says:
“There is no question that everyone involved – Hertfordshire Highways, district partners and beyond – work extremely hard during the severe winter of 2009/10.
“This session has given us the opportunity to look closely at the service we ran and plan for similar situations – like national salt rationing – in the future.
"One area of discussion was the salting of pavements. Under government guidelines, highway authorities tend to focus on keeping the roads moving but it's clear from the feedback we had from residents that we need to do more to salt and clear pavements. Work is underway to draw up new district-based plans which identify the main routes that need to be cleared so that residents can get to work and school, as well as to important facilities like hospitals and care homes.
“We are going to look at providing more information to the public about the service we run, road safety messages and advice on snow clearing.”