Budget to keep Sunderland roads clear this winter tops £700k

More than £700,000 has been allocated to spend on keeping the roads clear this winter.

Thursday, 1st November 2018, 2:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st November 2018, 2:18 pm
Coun Amy Wilson with place officer Reece Davis (left) and team leader Chris Potts at the Trimdon Street salt depot.

Between November 2018 and March 2019, £718,660 has been allocated by Sunderland City Council to spend on gritting and snow clearing.

Last financial year, an extra £100,000 was spent on the city's winter maintenance - bringing the cost to £844,000 - as gritters and snow clearing crews worked around the clock to tackle the 'Beast from the East' earlier this year.

Winter maintenance during the Beast from the East in Penshaw

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Similarly to previous years, spending is related to any extended period of extreme wintry weather if it occurs outside of the season between November and March.

The council's two depots for salt stocks are at Trimdon Street, Sunderland, and Houghton depot with 17,000 tonnes between them.

Coun Amy Wilson, the city council's cabinet member for environment and transport, said: "Every year the council allocates a budget for the city's Winter Maintenance services and outlines what the priorities are for treating roads and if there's severe wintry weather.

"If there's light snow and icy conditions forecast, the council goes out and pre-salts the highways.

Pathways being cleared in Shiney Row

"As we all know, longer periods of extreme wintry weather are not uncommon in our region. Therefore when this weather hits, the priority for the gritters and snow clearing is our main and busiest roads.

"This is to make sure we keep the city moving so people can get to work, school or college, the emergency services can keep moving, and goods and services keep flowing.

"As the main and busiest routes are treated round the clock when there's heavy snow, staff are also out and about clearing snow from footpaths near hospitals, in shopping centres, and near schools and colleges."

The council has 15 gritters that can also be fitted with snow ploughs to treat the roads, and 36 tractors and mini-tractors that can be used for ploughing footpaths.

Specialised weather forecasting that predicts estimated road surface temperatures is also available and includes two city ice prediction stations.

The principal gritting routes include the A1231, A690, A183, Newcastle Road, Ryhope Road, Southern Relief Road, A182, A195, and routes through Hetton, Houghton and Washington.

Following the official opening in August, the city's Northern Spire and its approach roads are now on principal gritting routes.

Coun Wilson added: "When we do get the next round of severe wintry weather, I would remind everyone to be patient, show consideration and drive as the road conditions dictate.

"And, wherever possible, treat the gritters as if they were emergency vehicles so keep your distance and let them through if you can."

There are more than 150 grit bins across the city. They are placed where significant inclines access a major road, next to inclines likely to be dangerous in icy conditions, or next to schools and hospitals.