Gritters out early ahead of weekend snow alert
Lancashire County Council is warning people to watch out for ice, with gritting crews treating roads earlier than usual today ahead of a freezing spell forecast over the weekend.
The gritters are already out on the main routes in many parts of the county, with temperatures due to fall to freezing later this afternoon.
The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for ice from 10am tomorrow to 6am on Sunday affecting the north and east of Lancashire, with heavy rain falling on freezing surfaces predicted to cause treacherous conditions on roads and pavements. Some snow is also predicted over higher ground tomorrow morning, before a band of rain arrives.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "Our gritting crews are already working hard ahead of the cold snap coming this weekend, however this will not prevent roads and pavements being icy if we do get freezing rain.
"Rain falling on freezing surfaces can wash off most of the salt we have put down and instantly create black ice on contact with the road – it's the most dangerous scenario which can affect our roads over winter.
"Our gritting crews will be doing their best throughout the weekend to treat the roads and keep the main routes moving, but there is a limit to what we can do in the type of conditions that are forecast for some areas, and people need to bear this in mind if they are planning to venture out.
"Roads may not be free of ice even though they've been gritted as we rely on the action of traffic to mix the salt with the ice. It's important that people leave extra time for their journeys, take care, and drive according to the conditions.
"I'd urge people to check the weather and consider whether their journey is really necessary if the icy conditions forecast by the Met Office hit Lancashire tomorrow. If you feel that you do have to make the journey please check that your vehicle is in good condition and that you have suitable clothing and sufficient supplies in case you encounter any problems.
"We have over 2,600 grit bins and salt heaps across the county, and I'd ask people to make use of them to keep the roads safe, but to use the grit sparingly and responsibly – a little should go a long way.
"The grit bins are in locations where there's a particular risk, often due to a steep gradient, and the grit should only be used on the roads and pavements. If people want to treat the paths around their home they should buy salt from a DIY store so that there's some left in the grit bins when it's really needed."
Lancashire County Council has a fleet of 45 frontline gritters which can treat the 1,500 miles of the county council's priority road network within around four hours, but may take longer in severe conditions.
For more information about gritting in Lancashire, and what you can do to prepare for winter, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/winter, follow us on Twitter for news and updates at www.twitter.com/lancashirecc or Facebook www.facebook.com/lancashirecc.