Council bosses say they’ve prepared ‘robustly’ for keeping Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and Rushden roads moving this winter

“We’re working hard to ensure minimal disruption to road-users throughout the autumn/winter period”
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Council bosses say they’ve prepared ‘robustly’ for keeping roads in Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and Rushden moving this winter.

North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) is getting ready for harsher weather conditions as Kier Transportation, the council’s highways provider, has its fleet of gritters ready to take on precautionary routes.

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Last year the authority invited school pupils and residents to help name the fleet with ‘Sir Grit A lot’, ‘Grumpy Gritter’ and ‘Wicky Gritty’ being just some of the trucks joining the ranks for the winter season.

The gritting crews are ready for the winterThe gritting crews are ready for the winter
The gritting crews are ready for the winter

The gritting season runs from mid-October to mid-April next year with gritters covering 821 miles (1,841km) of the council’s road network on precautionary routes - the equivalent of driving from Northamptonshire to Dundee and back.

In adverse weather conditions, an additional 234 miles would receive a gritting treatment.

The council has reserves of 4,000 tonnes of salt, with 651 grit bins across the region filled for use on public roads and footpaths.

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Cllr Matt Binley, the council’s executive member for highways, travel and assets, said: "Preparing for winter is an all-year-round task and requires extensive analysis of previous weather conditions to make informed decisions about priority gritting routes.

“We’re working hard to ensure minimal disruption to road-users throughout the autumn/winter period.

"After considerable preparation, we are now in a strong position to grit the roads as soon as forecasts predict temperatures to drop.”

Council leader Jason Smithers added: “Keeping North Northants moving when severe weather strikes is essential and I’m pleased that we’ve prepared robustly for the coming winter.”

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Enhanced weather forecasting and temperature readings will be taken via weather stations and sensors set out along North Northamptonshire’s roads, with updates sent every 15 minutes.

The gritters are also fitted with advanced GPS technology which requires only one person to operate the vehicle in clear conditions, by accumulating route data and reporting back to the office to ensure that works are safely delivered.

John Coombes, general manager at Kier Transportation, said: "The UK faces increasingly unpredictable weather year-on-year.

“Even once a road has received a gritting treatment, the salt requires activation from the movement of vehicles – so road users should remain vigilant.

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“We are proactively planning for the predicted weather conditions this winter.

"Our crews are on standby 24/7 during the winter months, as we work to keep road conditions safe and quickly respond to any changing weather conditions.

"We actively encourage feedback from the community to help us to continue to deliver a resilient and reliable service.”

If grit bin salt stocks run low, people can report that they need refilling via the Street Doctor service.

People can keep up to date with highways and travel news for North Northamptonshire Council highways on Twitter and Facebook via @NNCHighways.