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Gritters out and about during big weekend freeze

Herefordshire’s gritting teams worked around the clock at the weekend to keep the county’s roads as clear as possible during the heavy snowfall. 

Since the snow began in the early hours of Friday morning, 172 individual gritter runs were undertaken, 861 tonnes of salt were used and snow ploughs were deployed to keep the roads clear.

As the cold snap continues, the council’s highways team are bracing themselves for more reports of road damage.  The snowfall and significant flooding experienced over the last year has placed significant pressure on the county’s highways.  The highway service is working hard to keep up with demands for repair work to defects and potholes and is urging drivers to take caution and be vigilant while these safety repairs are undertaken as quickly as possible.

We are currently receiving an average of 50 reports of highway defects a day, which is over more than double the rate in January 2012.

Amey Herefordshire, the council’s highway service provider, has responded by putting more crews on repair works over the weekends and redeploying staff from other areas to carry out inspection and assessment work.  As a result defects have been addressed at more than 223 locations in the last month alone.  In the majority of cases, these fixes are permanent.  However there are occasions when the immediate safety of the travelling public means that a long-lasting but temporary fix is necessary.

To help prioritise workloads and keep the roads safe, there is a system for categorising all potholes and defects.  Whilst there is a definite need to address safety defects quickly, the council also needs to deliver a programme of proactive work that provides longer term fixes and improvements in the overall condition of our county’s highways.

Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for infrastructure and education, said:  “I am pleased that our services rose to the occasion over the weekend, and would like to thank the teams for working 24/7 in response to these severe winter conditions.

“We doing our best to keep on top of the growing number of repairs that need to be done and I am looking at ways of boosting our road maintenance programme to try and improve the infrastructure as this will reduce the likelihood of further defects.”

“The immediate safety of the travelling public remains our top priority and we will do all we can to carry out the safety repair work required as quickly as possible.”

Residents are being asked to report any defeats to Herefordshire Council by calling 01432 261800 or emailing streets@herefordshire.gov.uk .