Around 550 tonnes of salt have been used during the winter season to treat the Island’s highways network.
The salt is applied in ‘pre-wet’ form to ensure it starts to work on the road surface immediately and was deposited during 23 treatment runs carried out by Island Roads.
That compares to 35 runs carried over the corresponding period in 2014/15 and is indicative of a comparatively mild winter this year.
The winter period is designated as between November 1 and March 31 but resources remain on standby should there be a cold snap outside of these dates. Island Roads has a fleet of six state-of-the-art gritters named Brad Gritt, Sally the Salt Spreader, Snowy the Gritter, Frosty, George and Goliath by Island school children. Island Roads is keen to undertake school visits to spread the word about winter treatment and any school wishing to receive a visit ahead of next year’s winter programme can contact Island Roads at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Wallis, Island Roads maintenance manager, said: “This year was comparatively mild but it was also extremely wet which meant there was an increase of ‘spot treatments’ where we topped up salt deposits that may have been affected by surface water, often run-off from fields.
“This increase in spot treatments will be one area we will be looking at ahead of next year’s winter programme. We do routinely undertake additional gritting at sites where run-off is a known issue but this year there were many instances of run-off in areas where it has not previously been reported.”
Working to reduce highway flooding is another key area of Island Roads’ winter maintenance programme. To respond to the increased rainfall, 275 sites identified as presenting a flooding risk in the IW Council’s Flood Investigation Report following flooding in 2014 received monthly gully cleansing between October and the end of March.
Furthermore, last Autumn, a campaign called Ditch it was devised by Island Roads, the IWC Council and the Environment Agency to remind landowners of their responsibility to prevent water from their land flooding the highway network. Additional water draining on to the road and footway network increases greatly the likelihood of damage to the surfaces, resulting often in increases in potholes at this time of year. The combined work of winter service, drainage improvements and the efforts of landowners will all contribute to reduced defects, in addition to the huge amount of renewal works being carried out by Island Roads across the Island.