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With night time temperatures in Hampshire forecast to drop to at least -7C towards the end of this week (week ending Sunday 5 February), Hampshire County Council is ready to keep the roads salted and the county moving.
Although this winter has been relatively mild, main routes have been salted on 22 days to date, using 3000 tonnes of salt so far. In anticipation of even lower temperatures, the County Council is advising drivers to be extra cautious when setting out on their journey and to drive appropriately for the road conditions.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, commented: "We treat the main routes as a priority as these carry 85 per cent of the county's traffic and provide essential access to hospitals, large schools and other critical infrastructure. They are treated in advance to achieve the most effective results but many people may not be aware that once the temperature drops below minus five, the salt is less effective.
"After the severe winter of 2009/10 we invested in providing 2000 more salt/grit bins to local communities for people to salt public roads and pavements. The bins will be refilled as regularly as possible during spells of freezing weather but people may have to be patient as our priority will be keeping the main network salted. When there is a prolonged spell of freezing temperatures and snow for, say five days or more, we also salt single access roads to villages, routes to other schools and those used by emergency and other services, that haven't already been treated. This extends also to health centres, local shops and other essential community facilities."
The County Council started the winter season with salt stocks in excess of 18,000 tonnes - more than double the minimum amount of salt recommended by Government. An average salt run is 35 miles in length and takes three to three and a half hours to complete. There are 47 'priority one' salting routes and 60 vehicles are used, each carrying approximately five tonnes of rock salt.
Many of the county's roads are also now better prepared to withstand the effects of winter weather as a result of Operations Restore and Resilience - the Councilâ€™s long term strategy for extensive highway improvements.
More information about road salting and salt bins can be found online at: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/roads/winter-maintenance.htm