HIGHWAYS bosses claim use of new technology will make gritting of the county’s roads this winter the most efficient operation they have ever carried out.
The gritting fleet has been fitted with on-board technology which calculates the rate at which salt is spread on roads, based on surface temperature, not only meaning they are treated correctly but saving money.
Pre-wet salt treated with brine will also be used which works quicker on roads as it does not bounce off the carriageway.
Vehicles have now been fitted with new ploughs which will allow them to clear snow before they grit so the salt spread can get to work straight away.
The measures form part of plans to save £300,000 from the winter gritting budget while maintaining salt stocks at 2013/14 levels, believed to be the highest the county has ever held.
Worcestershire’s depots currently contain 15,000 tonnes of salt ready to grit the 1,500 miles of designated routes around the county. More than 1,200 grit bins have also been filled and are ready to use.
A council spokesman said the savings plan would involve no changes to gritting routes and they would continue to respond to forecasts appropriately.
Coun John Smith OBE, responsible for highways on the council, added: “Although the crews head out during the winter months planning takes place all year around and over the last couple of years we’ve been one of the first in the country to introduce new technologies to make the operation more efficient. Not only does this improve the treatment of our roads but it also helps save the taxpayer money too.
“We’ll be employing all of these improvements over the coming months as the crews treat thousands of miles of road when freezing conditions bite.”
But it may be some time before gritting crews are needed due to the milder than expected weather for this time of the year.
Last year crews went out for the first time on November 8 as temperatures plummeted but they have yet to be called into action this winter.
The latest forecast from the Met office is for a spell of wet and windy weather in the run up to Christmas with above average temperatures. However a cold snap is expected in the new year.