Road sweeper follows gritting lorry

ROAD chiefs have pledged to look at their procedures after an eagle-eyed resident saw a road sweeper trundle past his house - just minutes after a gritting lorry.

Laurence Cawley

ROAD chiefs have pledged to look at their procedures after an eagle-eyed resident saw a road sweeper trundle past his house - just minutes after a gritting lorry.

Suffolk County Council, which grits the roads, said it had never heard of an incident before like the one spotted in Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds, at dawn on Sunday morning and has vowed to look into the matter.

At about 5.45am, Whiting Street resident Richard Goss awoke to see the swirling yellow lights of a gritting lorry going past his home.


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About 40 minutes later a second vehicle - this time a St Edmundsbury Borough Council road sweeper - went past, sweeping up the grit.

Mr Goss said he was perplexed by the incident and questioned whether it was “a case of the right arm not knowing what the left arm was doing”.

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“It's good to learn of yet another splendid example of how public services can work together in close harmony - brilliant co-ordination,” he said.

Mr Goss said the road sweeper had gone past his house at 5.30am in the past, which would have avoided what he described as an “after-you-with-the-salt” incident.

“There have been occasions when it has been felt necessary to get him out on the streets of Bury at 5.30 on a Sunday morning which in this instance would have avoided any unfortunate overlap,” he said. “But then again perhaps we should be grateful for an extra hour's sleep.”

Both the borough council and the county council said the incident did not affect the road surface because the road sweeper's vehicle was one of the smaller ones which only cleared the channels by the sides of the road.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “We've never heard of this happening before and we will have a chat with the guys.

“It was one of those mini road sweepers so we know the road itself was not affected.

“It is something we will look into and work out whether we need to change procedures.”

A spokesperson for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “Suffolk County Council's contractors schedule gritting subject to the weather, and we have contacted them to ask that they advise us when they will be working in Bury St Edmunds.

“Gritting treats the whole road surface to improve safety for vehicles. Road sweeping, as carried out by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, clears the gutters. It does not pick up grit on the carriageway, just in the channel at the edge.”

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