Roads chief in gritting warning

DRIVERS are being urged to take care on the county's roads after it emerged that conditions sometimes mean they cannot all be gritted.

Neil Puffett

DRIVERS are being urged to take care on the county's roads after it emerged that conditions sometimes mean they cannot all be gritted.

Concerns have been raised about the way in which roads are gritted following an accident last month during icy conditions on the old A45 at Levington.

Becky Munday, one of the victims of the accidents, suffered a fractured neck and severe whiplash when her car left the road and rolled over.

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But on a visit to a county council highways depot in Great Blakenham, the Star was told that depending on weather forecasts and predicted times of icy conditions, it is not always possible to grit all roads.

In total there are more than 4,200 miles of road in Suffolk with 1,200 being categorised as Priority 1 for gritting, made up of A and B roads as well as some C roads with a history of heavy use.

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This is followed by 1,900 miles of Priority 2 roads, of which the old A45 is one, which are used less frequently than main routes.

Mike Young, central area highways manager for Suffolk County Council, said every attempt is made to grit as much of the major road network as possible but it is not always achievable.

He said should a frost be predicted to hit the roads at 8am gritters would begin taking to the roads at around 5.30am as it takes two-and-a-half hours for each vehicle to complete a pre-planned route.

This would mean that given such circumstances it would be impossible to grit the 1,900 miles of priority two roads in the county in time for morning rush hour.

Mr Young said: “It's all about the prevailing conditions.”

“Our objective is to grit priority two routes by 7.30am but that can only happen if we have salted priority one routes in the evening and it is felt they don't have to be salted again in the morning.”

“It is important that people take note of the conditions and drive accordingly - even when a road has been gritted, salt is not a magic solution and the road can still be slippery.”

- Are you concerned about the safety of Suffolk roads in freezing temperatures? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

Gritting resources:-

Suffolk County Council uses has a total of 38 gritter lorries across the county that spread salt on Suffolk's roads to prevent ice-related accidents.

The budget set aside for gritting in the county each year stands at around �1.5million, a figure that has been increasing roughly in line with inflation for the past few years.

In order to ensure all priority one and two routes are gritted in icy conditions would effectively mean doubling the budget.

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