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17 Jan 2012

Grit, urea and the winter plan

Last Thursday was the Transport Users Forum - open to all.  This time there was an excellent presentation on the winter plan Reading Borough Council puts in place for the winter season.  I found it very interesting and, if it weren't for my banana bread and soda bread, I would have popped a post on about it earlier. You can get more information by searching for 'winter gritting' on the council's website.

Here are a few of the facts about the winter plan:
  • We have 1200 tonnes of salt in stock at the beginning of the season.
  • 40% of the highway network is treated in the event of ivy/snowy weather. It takes 2 hours to complete the primary routes and a further hour for the secondary routes.
  • Salt is only effective up to -7C.
  • The spread rate of the salt depends on the weather forecast 10g/m2 is the normal amount but they spread 20g/m2 if prolonged icy or snowy weather is forecast.
  • They get a forecast at midday then an update at 7 in the evening.  These forecasts help them decide if the gritters are to be sent out.
  • If prolonged cold weather or snow is forecast urea is spread in the pedestrianised areas of the town centre. It is either extracted from animal urine or synthetic.  It forms a gel that lasts three days and stops ice forming and snow settling.  If needed it will then be swept away and re-applied.
  • There is a new Vaisala weather station outside Battle Library to measure urban road/surface temperature, dewpoint, humidity, air temperature and rainfall to help get more accurate forecast for Reading.  It will be fully operational shortly.
I thought this was CCTV and wondered why it was pointing at the floor!
 All in all a lot of work goes into ensuring the roads of Reading remain safe and usable.  I really do recommend coming along to a Transport Users Forum as the presentations made are very interesting!

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