More than twice around the world for Oxfordshire’s gritters in winter 2016/17

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Oxfordshire County Council’s gritters travelled the equivalent of more than twice around the world this Winter to keep the roads as safe as possible during the colder weather.

The winter was not one of the coldest in recent times however the total of 85,905 kilometres covered (or 53,379 miles) was still much higher than 2015/16 when the total was 64,224 kilometres covered (or 39,907 miles)

Gritters are on standby from October 28 right the way through to April in Oxfordshire – similar to many neighbouring councils.

In total the fleet of 28 gritters were sent out countywide on 45 occasions – including three times in the space of 12 hours on January 12/13 and on Boxing Day and other days over the Christmas break.

A total of 8880 tonnes of salt were used during the course of the Winter – within the resources that had been brought in at the start of the colder months.

Equivalent of London to Iceland

Paul Wilson, Oxfordshire County Council’s Highways Network Resilience Co-ordinator, said: “Although the winter of 2016/17 will be remembered in England more for February’s Storm Doris rather than colder weather we still had a number of cold nights that warranted the gritters being dispatched on to our roads.

“Travelling a distance of over twice around the world sounds a lot but actually it is well within the range of what we’d expect to cover during the Winter and is less surprising when you consider that one countywide gritting run in Oxfordshire is the equivalent distance of London to Iceland - approximately 1200 miles.”

“Although gritting helps keep the roads safe it is not a magic elixir that means the Winter can be kept at bay for motorists. The other half of the equation is people driving to the conditions – which I think most people are sensible enough to do.”

Highways England

Although Oxfordshire’s gritters cover A-roads and B-roads in the county the national agency Highways England are responsible for gritting the M40, A34 and A43 – so the Oxfordshire figures described do not include statistics for these roads.