Release date: 4 November 2019
To salt, or not to salt? That’s a question made easier to answer with the upgrading of two, ageing roadside weather stations.
West Sussex Highways has access to information from eight weather stations across the county: four are operated by the county council and four by Highways England.
The two oldest weather stations, in Bury Hill and Kingsley Green, had given 20 years’ reliable service but needed upgrading to incorporate the latest technology, including CCTV. The upgrades cost a total of £40,000.
Richard Speller, the council’s Winter Service Manager, said: “The weather stations give vital, real-time weather data about road conditions and allow forecasters to adjust their global weather models for West Sussex and its three weather domains: the coastal strip, Fernhurst and inland areas. These three areas reflect the topographical and meteorological differences across the county.”
A graph is produced at each station to help predict if temperatures are going to drop below freezing. The Winter Service Duty Manager then uses all the available information to decide which parts of the network’s priority routes should be treated with road de-icing rock salt (‘gritted’).
“To make best use of finite resources, it is important to have the best information possible and to focus our efforts on treating roads where there is high demand,” said Richard.
Meanwhile, salt bins are being topped up in West Sussex communities as the county enters the final stages of winter preparations.
In addition to the county council gritting priority routes, salt provided by West Sussex Highways helps towns, parishes and other communities keep the county moving if ice and snow cover local roads and pavements.
There are more than 800 salt bins around the county for communities to access at strategic locations and all restocking is done before the onset of winter.
Parish councils, town councils and community groups prepare for winter by ensuring they have winter plans in place, ready in case severe conditions affect their local area. The plans are supported by local volunteers, farmers and contractors to assist with salt spreading and snow clearances when needed.
- More details about our winter service arrangements can be found online
- Follow us on Twitter @WSHighways to see our daily decision on whether to send the gritters out
Pictured: Richard Speller at the Bury Hill weather station