When Do We Grit?
Amey Birmingham Ltd undertakes the Winter Maintenance service under the Highway Maintenance and Management PFI partnership for Birmingham.
Duty officers monitor both road and weather conditions around the clock during the winter period, analysing all information available which enable them to make an informed decision on when to grit the roads.
The information available to the duty officer includes a special forecast directly from a forecasting service provider, which is specific to forecast road temperatures and conditions within the West Midlands. This includes direct contact with an experienced forecaster who can give up to the minute advice on condition forecasts. In addition, to enable the duty officers to keep a constant watch on road conditions the council operates ten weather stations around the city and shares the information from a further 20 stations owned by our neighbouring Councils. The information from these stations is collected via a specialised web site.
When the information available to the duty officer indicates that wintry conditions will affect our roads, the gritting fleet is called into action.
In Times of Snow
When a snow fall is expected greater quantities of rock salt is spread on the roads beforehand to slow the rate of the snow settling. Then, if the snow begins to settle, further salt is spread to mix in with the snow to aid its melting. Unfortunately, salt alone has a limited effect on snow and it is only the actions of re-salting and the crushing of the salt by vehicle movement that will disperse and melt the snow. We cannot plough the snow until a depth of around 40mm (1.5 inches) is reached.