Work finishes on new £4.3 million highways depot in Sandy

Central Bedfordshire Council's Sandy councillor Caroline Maudlin, executive member for assets Eugene

Central Bedfordshire Council's Sandy councillor Caroline Maudlin, executive member for assets Eugene Ghent, Sandy councillor Tracey Stock and executive member for community services Ian Dalgarno. Picture: CBC. - Credit: Archant

Work has finished on a multi-million-pound highways depot facility in Sandy, to accommodate gritter vehicles ahead of the winter season.

The £4.3 million facility at Beamish Close is the second depot that Central Bedfordshire Council has opened this year.

In January, the council moved into its new £21 million facility at Thorn Turn near Houghton Regis in the west of the region.

Between them, these two new facilities mean that the council has a depot strategically located on either side of its region, and ensures that the council is ready for winter.

The Thorn Turn depot includes a 5,000-tonne salt storage facility, but the new Sandy depot will be able to make use of the adjacent Highways England salt storage.

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Speaking at the opening ceremony held last week, Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Central Bedfordshire Council’s executive member for community services, said: “This Sandy depot will provide a key role for us in the east of our region, especially being so close to the A1 road.

“If last winter is anything to go by, then both the new Thorn Turn site in the west and this latest one at Sandy are sure to be kept busy.

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“During the big chill we completed 98 gritting runs. That adds up to more than 44,100 miles covered, and a lot more than the previous year.

“By having bunkered fuel on site, all our vehicles will be ready and available when needed, especially in case of an emergency.

“So, we will be able to continue to provide our essential services to the public across the region, whatever this winter throws at us.”

Both the new council highways depots allow for fleet vehicles and gritters to be kept securely close to the areas where they will be operating.

Central Bedfordshire Council says having all the vehicles in one place at the start and end of the day will bring efficiencies by enabling minor maintenance and safety checks to be undertaken, and ensures that the vehicles are ready for the road.

The council spreads grit, or more accurately salt, on roads when freezing is forecast and when roads are damp, to melt and prevent ice.

The council aims to do salting before the morning and after the evening traffic peaks, but gritters work around the clock in bad weather.

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