Lancashire’s highways bosses say they have worked throughout the weekend to ensure the county’s roads are ready for forecasted snowfall on Sunday night.
The heaviest falls of snow are expected over the Pennines on Sunday night, with up to five to 10 cm of snow possible across the highest routes in the far east of the county, although up to two cm of snow is also possible in the south and north of the county.
Road temperatures are expected to fall below zero across the county, bringing a risk of frost and ice, especially where lying snow remains or where fresh snow falls.
Speaking on Sunday afternoon, Rachel Crompton, the county council’s highways manager, said: “All of the county’s priority routes are being salted this afternoon and evening in advance of snowfall, and our night-shift drivers will work all night to respond to conditions on the ground, ploughing snow before it compacts into ice and spreading extra salt to help prevent ice forming.”
“In the areas where we expect the most snow to fall overnight we have made arrangements to send fresh drivers out in the morning with the gritters and snowploughs to keep clearing the roads, particularly to widen out the cleared areas at junctions and on dual carriageways. Once all the priority routes are cleared and safe to use, we will look at moving the gritters onto our secondary routes to give local drivers more help if icy conditions are set to persist.
“We will also be refilling grit bins in the coming week, asking the district councils for help where necessary to clear snow from priority footway areas, and making arrangements for more salt deliveries to top up our existing supplies.”
“I would ask people to be prepared and check on neighbours who they know to be vulnerable, to check their vehicles are equipped for winter, and also to carefully consider whether they need to make a journey at all if they know travel is disrupted.
“It’s important that people drive to the conditions; even when a road has been gritted, it can remain icy until the movement of traffic has worked the salt in and made it take effect.”
Lancashire County Council has a fleet of 49 frontline gritters which can treat the 1,500 miles of the county council’s priority road network within around four hours, but may take longer in severe conditions. When it snows, it can cost up to £100,000 a day to keep the operation going.
The county council has also put on standby a number of agricultural contractors who clear more remote rural roads in the event of heavy snow.
Information and advice on winter weather, including real-time gritting updates, is available on Lancashire County Council’s website which has links to forecasts and the council’s Twitter and Facebook feeds which are updated every time the gritters go out.
For more information about travelling this winter visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/winter, follow us on Twitter for news and updates at www.twitter.com/lancashirecc or Facebook www.facebook.com/lancashirecc