West Lothian Council’s gritters will clock up the miles this winter covering a 645 mile road network – the equivalent distance if you were driving from Livingston to Brussels.
The council has 30,000 tonnes of salt available for the winter period, along with a significant fleet of vehicles equipped to tackle winter conditions, such as gritters, multi-purpose vehicles and mini-tractors.
However, with over 645 miles of road network and 800 miles of footways to look after, the council has to prioritise certain roads and paths and cannot treat all routes simultaneously. Given that in the majority of occasions residential areas cannot be treated, particularly during periods of severe winter weather, residents are being asked to prepare as best they can.
The council will invest more than £2.3million this year in resources and equipment to ensure the council is prepared to help keep West Lothian moving.
David Wilson, Roads Operations manager, said: “The demand to keep West Lothian moving during the winter period can be intense and we can assure customers that we do our best to achieve this.
“However, it’s important to put the challenges we face into context. Our road network equals the distance from Livingston to Brussels, Belgium and our path network equals the distance from Bathgate to Paris.
“It’s an impossible task to treat all roads and paths simultaneously. We understand the frustration and anxiety that winter weather can cause and we can assure customers that there’s a great deal of forward planning and consideration goes into our winter plans.
“Priority is given to keeping major routes (or snow routes) open during periods of severe weather, which means disruption is possible on other routes, including residential areas. As in previous years, this means that residential areas will not be treated until the primary routes and secondary level 1 routes have been gritted and deemed to be in satisfactory condition.
“Furthermore, deteriorating road conditions following initial treatment mean that we often need to return to the beginning of the priority cycle before many secondary routes are reached. Unfortunately this familiar pattern can prevent any significant progress through the priority levels.
“Forward planning means that West Lothian is well-prepared to tackle the impact of any severe weather this winter. Trained staff and a significant fleet of vehicles are ready to be deployed if snow falls, or if we experience other difficult weather conditions such as flooding or high winds.
“Other services across the council are also prepared to ensure essential services can still be delivered regardless of the severity of the local weather.”