Gritters will be out three times in space of 12 hours


Oxfordshire County Council has gritters covering main routes three times in the space of 12 hours as snow and sleet is followed by a temperature plunge.

Rain turned to sleet and snow during the evening of Thursday, January 12 in Oxfordshire and cold temperatures are forecast to follow with the Met Office issuing a "yellow alert" for ice - its lowest level of alert.

The council’s gritters are set out to cover the northern half of Oxfordshire at 2:30pm today and from 3pm to cover the southern half of Oxfordshire ahead of the sleet and snow.

A further gritting run was scheduled to follow across the county from 7:30pm with a third run at 3am on Friday, January 13.

A single gritting run covers all A-roads, B-roads and some C-roads – a total of 1200 miles of Oxfordshire road, which is the equivalent of London to Iceland. The council deploys 28 gritters on such a gritting run.

Highways England covers three major routes that run through Oxfordshire – these being the M40, A34 and A43.

The council has the ability to attach snowploughs to the front of gritters should snow reach sufficient depth for these to be required.

Highways managers monitor weather forecasts on a 24 hour basis using a computerised ice prediction system which compares forecast conditions against actual road temperatures measured at five weather stations around the county. Council staff are available through-the-night to keep a watch on conditions.

Advice to drivers is that even on gritted road surfaces, winter driving conditions can be very difficult and require due care and attention. With a temperature drop following rain, sleet and snow icy conditions are very likely.