Keeping You Moving Night And Day
Winter is well and truly here, and with the colder mornings and nights now upon us, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is doing all it can to keep the main roads open and residents moving while on their journeys. With the winter weather closing in on us, the Council’s Highways team is on call and available, whatever the weather.
While most people are fast asleep in their beds at night, with fewer vehicles on the road, the Council’s highways road salting fleet can often be found making their way around the County Borough’s 125km of priority routes. Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Out Of Hours Response Team travel the County Borough whenever inclement weather is forecast, including the festive season, on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day if needed.
This could mean treating the main network across the County Borough, treating Council car parks and treating higher routes, depending on the severity of the expected conditions.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, with responsibility for Highways and Streetcare, said, “It’s the time of year when the weather turns much colder, with the greater risk of sleet, snow and icy conditions. But throughout this time, our Council Streetcare and Highways teams will be doing their best to maintain our highways for motorists, often in the most challenging of conditions.
“Our crews will be out working whenever needed, maintaining the routes across Rhondda Cynon Taf, day and night, often whilst many of us are asleep in beds, often at weekends, and even over the Christmas and New Year period if required.
“However, despite our highways being treated with rock salt, it’s important that motorists realise that they still need to take their time and drive safely, according to the winter conditions.
“Just because the road is treated, it doesn’t mean it is skid-proof, and one of the biggest issues our teams face each year is vehicles overtaking our gritting lorries as they treat the roads.
“We urge all motorists to slow down and be patient and acknowledge the work our crews are doing treating the network on their behalf. We also ask motorists to be considerate with their parking at this time of year. Avoid double-parking if at all possible and keep junctions clear in order for our large vehicles to get through.”
The Council’s fleet includes 10 frontline salt vehicles, 10 second-line vehicles with ploughs available, two loading shovels, 13 general-purpose vehicles and eight 4x4 vehicles, as well as around 40 tippers also available to assist during severe weather emergencies.
All main salt vehicles are fitted with the latest technology in salt distribution, including trackers and salt monitoring systems, which allow the Council to programme the vehicles accurately, depending on the route and weather conditions. This results in a more effective and efficient use of the salt supplies, reducing costs and the environmental impact that the salt has on our County Borough.
The Council undertakes its annual Winter Service between the core period of October 1 to and April 30. In a single run of the Precautionary Salting Network (priority routes), staff cover a length of 267 miles – that’s the equivalent of travelling from Pontypridd to Birmingham……and back!
During each run, anything between 50 and 70 tonnes of salt is spread, depending on the severity of the weather conditions.
Throughout last year’s winter period, which was mainly cold and wet, with no significant snowfall, the Council carried out 111 winter weather actions, restocked more than 1,200 self-help salt bins located across the County Borough and used 6,300 tonnes of salt.
To become effective, salt needs to be laid on the highway and then crushed by other vehicles in order to dissolve. Salt becomes less effective when temperatures drop below -5C.
Self-help salt bins are provided to allow the public to treat highways and footpaths, not personal driveways. It is also a time to call on elderly, vulnerable, family, friends and neighbours to ensure their safety and well-being.
The Council’s Your Neighbours Need You campaign encourages residents to help each other if it is safe to do so, especially during periods of heavy snowfall. The campaign promotes a number of small actions that ‘good neighbours’ can undertake themselves during severe winter weather.
During the winter months, motorists are advised to follow television and radio weather forecasts, and the Council’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as allowing extra time for journeys.
Residents are also advised to follow the Council’s social media accounts for regular schools and local services updates.
View the Council’s Winter Service Operational Plan
To report any issues after 5pm or at weekends, call the Council’s Out Of Hours service on 01443 425011.