More snow on the way amid fears of salt crisis
HERTS Highways is preparing for more severe weather conditions following forecasts indicating further snow hitting the county overnight and tomorrow (Friday) morning, with sub-zero temperatures at the weekend. If the weather is as bad as forecast, it may
HERTS Highways is preparing for more severe weather conditions following forecasts indicating further snow hitting the county overnight and tomorrow (Friday) morning, with sub-zero temperatures at the weekend.
If the weather is as bad as forecast, it may take time to get roads clear.
Stuart Pile, county council executive member for highways, transport and rural affairs, said this afternoon: "Hertfordshire has been hit hard by severe weather this week and it seems that there's to be little reprieve in the near future. We ask everyone for their continued patience while we deal with these conditions and, as always, to consider whether their journey is necessary. If you must go out, take great care on the roads and footways."
Herts Highways says it will continue to grit and plough the roads that are its highest priority (the county's A and B roads, all bus routes, at least one road in and out of villages, industrial areas and shopping centres) and will respond to conditions as they develop.
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It aims to be careful to strike a balance between keeping priority roads passable and conserving salt so that it can continue to keep gritting.
Concerns about salt supplies continue, as the UK's suppliers all struggle to meet demand
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Cllr Pile continued: "While we understand the need to keep motorways safe, there is little point in salting motorways if motorists are unable to use local roads to access them.
"It is undeniable that the very slow supply of salt is putting continuation of an effective winter service at risk, across a wide area of south and east England."
By Wednesday lunchtime, 4,000 tonnes of salt had been used on Hertfordshire's roads since 4pm on Sunday.
A highways spokesman said: "We started the week with about 5,500 tonnes in stock and a further 6,200 on order. However, our supplier is rationing us to around 160 to 180 tonnes per day. 1,200 tonnes remain in stock, with another 180 tonnes expected to be delivered today (Thursday). We could need to use 600 tonnes tomorrow on just the priority roads. While we still have some supplies they are lower than is comfortable."
Officers from Hertfordshire County Council and their partners, Amey Lafarge, are scouring the markets looking for alternative sources of supply.
"While we do not want to get anyone's hopes up," added Cllr Pile, "we are following a number of positive leads for extra salt, both on our own and in partnership with other highways authorities. As soon as we have something definite to report, we will let the public know as we are aware that the current situation is a cause for concern.