Highways gritting teams have been working around the clock to keep North Yorkshire’s roads open as the current cold snap bites.
With road surface temperatures below zero, snow showers have been creating hazardous conditions and gritters and farming contractors have kept all major routes open.
The gritting teams have been geared up for the challenge of wintry weather on the county’s 5,800 miles of roads since October. The £7m winter maintenance budget sees 54% of the roads gritted on one of England’s largest and in places most remote road networks. There are 86 gritters in the fleet and there are 111 farm contractors, five road snowblowers and seven footpath snowblowers.
Priority 1 and 2 routes have been regularly treated and remain clear, although drivers are urged to remain cautious as further snow showers may fall during the day.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways, said: “It is a complex operation coping with severe winter weather on a big road network. We will grit as required to keep our highways open. Our first priority is major routes which connect or go through the county’s towns and we will clear these before moving on to our second level of priority routes which give access to smaller communities.
“We do everything we can to keep traffic moving during severe winter weather, but it is important for drivers to drive with caution and consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary.”
Further information, road cameras, maps and videos explaining the council’s operations can be found at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/gritting.
During gritting operations, updates will be posted on the council’s Twitter account and Facebook page. Follow @northyorkscc or #nygrit and https://www.facebook.com/northyorkscc.
Advice for drivers about preparing for winter driving can be found at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/safe-winter-driving.
The county council is also working hard to keep elderly and disabled people safe during the cold weather. It is asking neighbours and friends to look out for elderly and disabled friends and family members.
The county council has, in partnership with Citizen’s Advice, also commissioned a warm and well service, which offers support to people worried about winter, living in cold homes or struggling to pay bills. The service offers a single point of contact – 01609 767555 – for any North Yorkshire resident with concerns about winter or needing help.
North Yorkshire works with all partners, care providers and the NHS to ensure people have the care they need during wintry conditions and have well-rehearsed business continuity plans. The council’s care teams prioritise visits during bad weather and have access to 4x4 vehicles if necessary to access elderly and disabled people needing care even in remote places.
“We are well-rehearsed and ready for wintry conditions in order to prioritise care for our most vulnerable residents,” said County Councillor Michael Harrison, executive member for adult social care and health integration.