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4,500 Tonnes of Salt Spread on Bedford Borough's Roads Over Winter as Crews Work Round the Clock

March 13, 2020 6:33 PM

Cllr Charles RoydenBedford Borough Council's gritting crews have been out on over 50 gritting runs this winter, and have used about 800 more tonnes of salt than they had by this time last year.

Nearly 4,500 tonnes of salt have been spread across Bedford Borough's roads since October 2019, when the Council's winter maintenance programme for this year began.

Gritting or salting of the roads is vital to stop ice forming and keep motorists, cyclists and pedestrians safe. The grit is, however, bad for the road surface and the amount that the Council has had to spread is partly responsible for the high number of potholes and road defects that have appeared this winter.

While daytime temperatures have not been exceptionally cold this winter, crews have been working at night to tackle sudden drops in temperature. These freezing conditions, in combination with wet conditions has caused devastation to the roads as water seeps in, then freezes.

The Highway crews responsible for carrying out the gritting and keeping the roads safe by spreading salt throughout winter, are the same people responsible for filling the potholes. Because they need "downtime" after working through the night, the Council has drafted in additional pothole crews this winter, to make sure they can keep gritting and keep on top of pothole repairs.

In this year's winter maintenance period so far (October 2019 - March 2020), the Council has already filled over 1,500 more potholes than the same period last year, from around 2,000 to over 3,600.

Cllr Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Highways said "It can be something of a vicious circle- we have to grit the roads, but the grit in combination with the weather causes real damage to our roads. At the same time our crews are working late at night and early in the morning to make sure we're getting the roads gritted and safe, doing even more runs than last year, so they can't be out doing their normal roads maintenance work.

"That is why we have drafted in extra pothole crews, to help keep on top of the spike in pothole and road defects we have seen this winter."