Guest column: Andy Warrington on this weekend's weather
WHAT a weekend that was! The weather forecasters were spot on, we finally saw some snow and the county council's gritting teams were out night and day all over the county.
All told, we put down some 1,000 tonnes of salt – the most so far this season – covering around two-thirds of Nottinghamshire's main roads (the city council does its own).
We only ever set out to salt A and B roads and main bus routes. We never do residential areas unless they fall into the other categories – no council does – as our priority is to keep the main road network open.
Within three hours of the snow stopping, most of the main routes were passable with care – and that's exactly what we set out to achieve.
Our gritting teams were out in force, completing two runs during daylight hours on Saturday before the snow even started, spreading a layer of salt at a rate of 20 grammes per square metre each time.
They were out again at 6pm and carried out two more runs overnight and into Sunday morning. Our daytime teams then took over, hitting the roads again at 7am on Sunday, and we carried out another run overnight from Sunday into Monday.
For the first time this season, our gritting lorries were equipped with snow ploughs on Saturday and we also brought in extra men to cope.
It is important to remember, however, that although a road will have been gritted, it may still have a covering of snow as the effectiveness of the salt also depends on the amount of traffic that uses the road.
The irony is that, in conditions like we had at the weekend, no matter what we do we still need traffic to help mix the salt in with the snow and start turning it to slush. The first few cars using the road, therefore, will have to do so very carefully.
The perception is that, if there's snow in the road, then we haven't done our job properly but rest assured that, if we've treated the roads then – with care – they are all passable.
Guest column: Andy Warrington, Notts County Council's service director for highways