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Gritting costs £1000 per time, per road

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Gritting costs £1000 per time, per road

SALTING and winter treating the region’s 18 main roads costs £1000 for each outing, it was revealed this week.

Officials shared the figure during a briefing on their winter roads plan.

And in a bid to save money, they have plans to cut down the number of times that the gritters go out in ‘marginal conditions’ at the start and end of this winter, when the temperatures are “hovering around zero”.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed that 13 new workers have recently been recruited, while another ten roads operatives will be employed soon.

These additional staff members will help to keep routes clear of ice and snow for residents, and there are also plans to put some through specialised training for heavy goods vehicles at a later date.

Stuart Caven, the council’s roads manager, said: “With regards to resources for winter 2023/24, we have completed the first phase of our recruitment. We’ve taken on an additional 13 staff, some of which have HGV capabilities and others can provide support as second men covering other activities like storm events.

“We’re currently in the second phase of our recruitment, which is for another ten roads operatives. Again, there are candidates within that pool who have HGV capabilities that will be able to enhance our provision.

“We still have some space spare on our current winter rota, and I’ve engaged with a driver hire company to fill any of these spots to ensure we have capability right across the winter service period.”

The council’s newly-published Winter Service Plan for 2023-24 was signed off by members of the committee.

It also detailed a new approach that will be taken this winter to try and keep roads clear and safe.

Roads chiefs will switch from “climatic domain forecasting” to route based forecasting for the 18 primary routes.

With Dumfries and Galloway being such a large region, this will lead to a more localised and accurate assessment of road conditions in different places.

The winter service fleet includes both general purpose vehicles and specialist winter service plant and equipment. However, the council will also hire additional snow clearing plant machinery when necessary.

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