Winter weather update from Hampshire County Council

Please see the message below from Hampshire County Council:

Dear Members,


With weather forecasts warning of some of the coldest weather in recent years, with sub zero temperatures across the county, and snow showers likely, at least in the East and North of Hampshire early next week,  I thought you would welcome an update on our highways preparations.


Despite much more frequent salting already this winter due to frosts, our salt barns have good stocks of around 13,000 tonnes, with further deliveries due next week.  All of the 3000 or so community salt bins are full, and we have issued communications advising how to make best use of these bins – i.e. a little salt goes a long way – as we expect the cold spell to be prolonged and we may not be able to replenish these bins immediately if we are dealing with snow and ice on the main road network.  The main road (Priority 1) network has already been treated several times, and teams will be out continuously over the weekend.  These ‘Priority one’ routes cover approximately one third of the county road network but carry the majority of Hampshire’s traffic; covering A roads, some B roads, major bus routes, roads to hospitals and other key emergency hubs, large schools and colleges, areas of high traffic concentration and public transport interchanges. The new winter vehicles can be quickly fitted with snow ploughs and they are equipped with the latest GPS technology to make sure salting operations are as efficient as possible. Gritters will start on the Priority 2 network on Sunday to ensure these roads, including single accesses to villages, are treated ahead of any forecast snow.  Early Monday morning, crews will set out to treat Hampshire’s community routes in the North and East of the county, which include minor roads to smaller schools and GPs surgeries.


We have alerted the 100+ volunteer farmers we are able to call on to be ready to fit County Council snow ploughs (stored on the farms) to their tractors to carryout any local snow ploughing which may be needed, in addition to our work on the main routes.  We are also deploying salt wicks, which are similar to sandbags – but designed to increase salinity in known areas of water seepage onto the highway.  These ensure that any water running off fields and onto the roads is salty, and helps put salt onto the roads as well, ahead of the forecast freeze.  It is also worth remembering that salt begins to lose its effectiveness when temperatures dip below -5C, and it is likely that we will see some very cold overnight temperatures in the next week or two, according to the forecast.  We are advising all road users to be prepared before setting out on journeys and to take extra care as a result of the likely weather conditions.


We are also working with colleagues in the district councils to ensure town high streets and precincts are treated as necessary , and we have already supplied salt to a number of district councils for them to use to treat footways and pedestrian areas.  I will provide you with another update early next week, when we hope to have greater certainty on the detailed weather patterns we can expect during the forecast very cold spell.


Stuart Jarvis 
Director of Economy, Transport and Environment