Gearing up for winter

A council snowplough clearing roads in Kintyre in March 2013.
A council snowplough clearing roads in Kintyre in March 2013.

With motorists facing the first frosts this week as autumn turns to winter,  Argyll and Bute Council says it is ready for the worst of the weather  – with 33 front line gritters which can also be used as snowploughs, a stock of 11,000 tonnes of rock salt and a trained team ready to treat the roads.

The council is responsible for 1,455 miles of roads – almost the entire road network in its area, the exceptions being trunk roads. Of those 753 miles are pre-treated as priority routes.

The council’s policy lead for roads and amenity services, Ellen Morton, said: “There are challenges in keeping our roads clear in Argyll and Bute with its unique geography.

“However, based on the experience of previous years we have winter standby arrangements in place from now until mid-April next year.

“During the forthcoming months if extreme weather does come to Argyll and Bute, we will do everything we can to keep our roads network open.”

The council’s vehicles have been serviced and overhauled and trial runs have been made over priority routes. Grit bins are being filled, staff trained and rotas put in place to provide cover seven days a week when required.

The council is preparing a winter weather ready leaflet to advise householders and businesses on how to prepare themselves, and information will be readily available on our website and social media.

These preparations mirror the national Ready Scotland campaign, which urges everyone in Scotland to prepare for winter and severe weather.

  • In Argyll and Bute last winter there were the equivalent of 106 completed full winter runs, compared to 63 runs in 2011/12.
  • A total of 17,777 tonnes of salt was recorded as used in all treatments, and increase from the 2010/11 total of 10,430 tonnes.
  • The severe weather conditions of late March 2013, although localised mainly to Mid-Argyll, Kintyre and Islay, accounted for 3,500 tonnes.
  • BEAR Scotland manage the trunk roads in Argyll and Bute – A82, A85, A828 and A83 as far south as Kennacraig on behalf of Transport Scotland.