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17 December 2010, 05:00
Heart’s found out that Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils have, between them, had to spend nearly £2 million on gritting our roads already this winter due to the early cold snap, as opposed to the same time last year when the gritters still hadn’t been used at all.
This comes after a warning yesterday that temperatures dropping overnight and through to this morning are making roads and pavements across the East of England extremely dangerous.
We’ve been told there is a risk that even roads on priority gritting routes will remain icy. This is because yesterday’s rain may have washed off salt already on the roads and as Norfolk and Suffolk prepare for more snow, road surfaces may freeze before they can be gritted again.
Nick Tupper, highways maintenance manager, said: "Timing the gritting run will be critical. We will have crews on standby ready to start gritting as soon as it clears.”
"A complete gritting run takes around three hours, and with temperatures expected to plunge well below freezing there is a risk that roads will become very icy. Road surfaces are forecast to get down to -7C, and at that temperature road salt becomes much less effective at clearing ice.
"The very cold weather is likely to continue right through the weekend. Over the next few days our gritters are likely to be out constantly, but people need to understand that the action of salt on snow and ice is slow when temperatures are low. Even well treated roads can become snow covered. It needs the action of traffic to help activate the salt. It is very important that drivers are aware of this and take great care."