In winter, the Council monitors weather conditions and forecasts and deploys gritting lorries to spread salt on roads to deter formation of ice and packed snow.
Each lorry has a snowplough to move snow aside to the road verge and is fitted with communications technology so its location and progress may be monitored. The routes are pre-planned so the most essential roads get treated first. The Council also sites grit and salt bins to enable local trouble spots to be treated on a self-help basis.
The County Council's Function
Weather forecasts are received daily from Meteogroup by experienced decision makers, who monitor the weather conditions throughout the day and night 7 days a week.
When ice or snow is forecast for a route the County Council applies salt to predetermined roads which have been identified as being the most critically important to the majority of the road users in Ceredigion. These predetermined or precautionary routes amount to approximately 437km of the county road network, which represents some 20% of the road network of Ceredigion and includes the entire trunk, and principal road system and the most important B, C and Unclassified roads.
During prolonged periods of severe weather, and upon successful completion of the Trunk, Primary Routes and other routes identified as the principal network, treatment may be given, on a priority basis, to include these other roads, footways, cycleways and car parks.
Where accumulations of snow have formed, snow clearing of roads by conventional ploughing is undertaken and in extreme circumstances, snow blowers, excavators and loading shovels are deployed.
The Council also maintains a significant number of salt bins to allow self-help by motorists and pedestrians, mainly on parts of the network away from the precautionary routes at known trouble-spots throughout the county.
Precautionary Salting Routes
Winter maintenance carried out by Ceredigion County Council and North & Mid-Wales Trunk Road Agent.
Stockpiles of salt totaling 9800 tonnes are stored at the 2 Highway Depots located at Aberystwyth and Penrhos near Llandysul. This is spread on the carriageway by a modern fleet of vehicles driven by a team of fully trained operators to ensure the optimum and most effective use of the equipment and valuable resource.
The Council cannot supply private individuals with salt.
The council’s salt is stored in bulk (not bags) in busy working depots where there is high density vehicular traffic and moving machinery. It is neither suitable nor safe to allow residents to visit these working areas. It is also the case that during a winter event operational staff are fully deployed and would therefore be unable to assist individual members of the public.
The level of salt stocked by the Council is carefully planned to enable the efficient running of our winter service. Providing salt to individuals would impose an unacceptable strain on our limited resources, particularly during a prolonged event.
Local builder’s merchants and DIY stores usually supply rock salt for private use.
Driving in Winter
Drivers are advised:
- To plan their route carefully.
- Where possible, use those treated roads incorporated in the precautionary schedule.
- In icy conditions it is essential that you drive more carefully.
- Slow down as soon as you are aware of ice.
- Steer gently and avoid harsh braking.
- Maintain a safe distance from winter service vehicles and overtake very carefully, gritting lorries are designed to spread salt across the entire width of the carriageway.
Please remember, despite our best efforts, winter weather can still make roads dangerous. Motorists are expected to drive in accordance with the conditions. You are also reminded that during periods of low temperatures, ice can still be present in isolated locations after or prior to the application of salt.