Kent County Council’s fleet of gritters have been getting their wheels rolling practising their routes for the winter season ahead.
Thousands of tonnes of salt will be used to grit the roads and fill salt bins around the county throughout the colder months.
Using 64 gritters, teams head out on Kent’s main roads when road surface temperatures drop to below freezing.
This year, crews will be able to use state-of-the-art technology to predict which roads are likely to be the most critical ones to grit.
The formula, which looks at historic weather and road surface temperature patterns, was developed by KCC’s contractor Amey Consulting.
Kent County Council’s Highways Project Manager, Carol Valentine, is charged with making sure the teams are properly prepared for the task ahead, in keeping roads open in the face of any weather we might get.
She said: “It is essential we prepare for any weather event which nature might throw at us throughout the winter season.
“Our service focuses on keeping a network of primary routes, comprising 1,597 miles of main A and B roads open, as well as those which are locally important.
“Gritters are ready to head out when temperatures reach the required level to spread 23,000 tonnes of salt.”
As with previous years, the council will make sure all its primary routes – those that are vital and allow people to carry on with essential journeys – are maintained and safe for drivers to use.
Not all roads are gritted so people need to take care as they move around the county.
Following the heavy snow we had in February, officers have been repairing and restocking damaged and empty salt bins to make sure they are all ready to use.
The council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, David Brazier, is the portfolio holder for KCC’s winter road safety policy and has urged people to check before they travel.
Mr Brazier said: “We are all accustomed to the early morning chill we feel when we leave our homes on those winter mornings.
“As a council we have robust plans in place to make sure we are ready for whatever might be ahead but we need individual drivers to take responsibility for making sure their vehicles are safe in all types of weather.
“Before taking cars, vans or lorries on the road this winter, take the time to make sure they are ready for the icy conditions that might be met.”
Visit this page to find out more about KCC’s winter gritting teams.