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West Sussex County Council and its highways contractor Balfour Beatty have unveiled a new line of defence in the battle against snow and ice on the roads.
A brand new fleet of 26 gritters has been welcomed to the county and they have already been put to the test when the county staged ‘Operation Snowflake’ over the weekend.
The annual exercise is held to rehearse the county’s gritting procedures and ensure resources are ready to be put into action ahead of the onset of winter.
Pieter Montyn, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Operation Snowflake saw the new gritting vehicles, snow ploughs and other equipment tested on a ‘dry run’ across West Sussex. Drivers were also briefed on the call-out procedures that are activated when cold weather hits.
“A real benefit of the new vehicles will be that because they are more efficient they will actually use 20 per cent less salt, meaning our supplies will last for longer and there will be less of an effect on the environment.”
The new gritters are also equipped with a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) System called ‘Coldsnap’ which makes it is possible to monitor gritting throughout the county on a minute by minute basis.
The County Council already has a stockpile of 10,000 tonnes of salt and an electronic monitoring system so that more can be ordered if required.
The County Council’s Highways team treats 1,600 kilometres or 40% of the total 4,000 kilometre road network but not the A23 or A27 which are the responsibility of the Highways Agency.
There are 23 gritters on the road, each covering a separate route. Three vehicles are kept as spare in case of breakdowns.
Hear our Interview with West Sussex County Council's Winter Service manager, Richard Speller