Gritters are gearing up to head out during weekend cold snap

Gritters working in heavy snow.
Gritters working in heavy snow.
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Gritters are gearing up for their first busy weekend of the season as temperatures are expected to plummet.

After the second warmest start to November on record, forecasters predict that freezing air will descend from the arctic this weekend bringing with it extremely chilly weather.

The county’s fleet of 61 gritters are ready to be heading out and Herts County Council has stockpiles 12,000 tonnes of salt at its four depots to help prevent ice forming on the roads.

Councillor Terry Douris, who oversees highways, said: “The forecast tells us temperatures are predicted to drop by 10 degrees with a chance of wintry showers falling on Hertfordshire over the weekend. Because the weather’s been so mild it’s unlikely any snow we might have will settle, but we want to make sure there’s no risk of surface water freezing on our roads.

“Salt is the best material we have to treat ice and snow, but it’s by no means perfect, so we recommend that residents take great care when driving or walking in ice or snow.”

Advice on how to stay safe during the winter months is available at www.hertsdirect.org/salting.

Over an average winter, gritters in Herts will be deployed around 60 times and usually at night.

On every trip they will spread more than 300 tonnes of treated salt over 42 per cent of the county’s roads - about 1,553 miles.

Once the gritters have treated roads, vehicle tyres crush the salt into the road, which dissolves and reduces the freezing point of moisture on the surface,

The higher the concentration of salt, the lower the temperature can fall before freezing occurs, which greatly reduces the instances of dangerous slippery conditions.

Keep up to date with the latest gritting news by following #grittertwitter or log on at twitter.com/Herts_Highways.