Scotland ready for winter
The extensive range of specialist equipment that will be used to clear Scotland’s roads this winter was on display in Edinburgh today.
Other measures and improvements implemented since the winter of 2010-11 include:
- A commitment to have more salt stocked at the start of this winter than used across Scotland in the entire winter of 2010-11
- A strengthened network of weather stations and new cameras at 24 sites to improve decision-making
- New guidance for Operating Companies on when to use alternative de-icers that work in severe conditions
- Publication of daily gritting plans to give the public and media more access to more information about the treatments taking place
- A Freight Scotland Hotline for drivers to highlight network problems and guidance for HGV drivers
- New YouTube on Winter Service Provision produced for key stakeholders and the public
- Transport Scotland sits on the World Road Association Winter Technical Committee to discuss international lessons
Transport Minister Keith Brown tested two RAIKO Ice Breakers which have been purchased by Transport Scotland. One will be stored in Glasgow for use by the South West and North West Operating Companies, the other near Linlithgow for potential deployment on the North East and South East routes.
Also on display were a range of gritters, equipped with mobile road surface temperature sensors and ‘Gritter Cams’, a V-Plough, community self-help kits, and a footway snow blower.
Mr Brown said:
“Transport Scotland delivers its winter service programme on Scotland’s trunk road network from the start of October right through to mid-May. One of the key drivers behind today’s event is to encourage road users to start thinking now about how severe weather can impact on their journey. We are highlighting what motorists can do to prepare for the worst and plan ahead.
“People accept that roads authorities can’t always guarantee there will be no disruption over winter, however with the decisive action we are taking and the assistance of the public in planning ahead, I’m confident that together we can keep Scotland moving in the vast majority of circumstances.
“Additional gritters, greater use of state of the art technology and getting information to people ‘on the move’ are just a few of the ways we have strengthened winter treatments, decision making and communication with road users. However, for the system to work, what road users do to plan for their journey is just as important. Keeping a close eye on weather and travel information, as well as ensuring vehicles are suitably prepared prior to setting off, is crucial. If we all plan ahead, Scotland will be better prepared for winter.
“Last year we stocked more salt than was used over the whole of the previous winter and we published daily gritting plans for Trunk Road Operating Companies. We also have 110,000 litres of alternative de-icers in stock that will work in the most severe conditions when road salt becomes less effective.
“As part of our winter review we carried out a comparison with other countries. One of the main difficulties in 2010 was the hard-packed sheet ice covering the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh. This proved very difficult to clear due to the extreme low temperatures. The Raiko Icebreaker is used in Finland and other Scandinavian countries and will be a very useful addition if we have to deal with these conditions again.”