Gritty determination to be winter ready

“Our fleet of 19 gritters will be ready to go when the frosty weather arrives"

Gritters about to leave a depot at the start of an annual winter readiness check

Release date: 12 October 2021

If you see gritters on the roads on Saturday morning (16 October), don’t do a double-take if it’s mild  – West Sussex Highways is testing its winter readiness.

The annual “dry run” with the gritters prepares the County Council to keep safe main roads and approaches to hospitals, schools/colleges and busy bus routes.

A West Sussex Highways spokesperson said: “Our fleet of 19 gritters will be ready to go when the frosty weather arrives.

“Drivers from contractor Balfour Beatty Living Places check the vehicles and equipment are in good working order and it is an opportunity to familiarise themselves again with the routes.

“They also note any problems, such as overgrown hedges, that need attention ahead of severe weather later in the year and see if there are ways to make the runs more efficient.”

There is more information online about our winter planning, including our gritting routes and how we decide which roads to grit.

Residents can follow us on Twitter @WSHighways #GritterTwitter to see our daily decision on whether to send the gritters out.

Some nitty-gritty:

  • The gritting routes cover nearly 1,700km of highway, including all A and B roads, and include routes of local importance such as major bus routes, access to emergency service bases, hospitals and large industrial establishments.
  • We monitor the weather closely from 1 October to 30 April and will make a daily decision on whether we need to grit (salt). 
  • We start the winter season with around 8,000 tonnes of salt in our stores and monitor stocks carefully throughout the season.
  • We support town and parish councils which have local winter plans by topping up grit bins at the beginning of the winter season.
  • Whilst we’re out spreading, grit takes time to work on the roads and we always ask drivers to please take their time and drive to the conditions.
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