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Winter crews ready to work through the big chill
Aberdeen City Council is gearing up to tackle ice and snow on the city's roads and footpaths as winter approaches.
The full Winter Maintenance Plan will commence in November, but the crews are ready now to tackle any problems.
Roads staff are monitoring the weather forecast daily and will arrange for any necessary action to be taken. Overnight salting and snow clearing work will be carried out as required.
All 900 of the city's grit bins are in the process of being filled a major exercise which would take a two man crew the equivalent of 38 working weeks to complete. Businesses and members of the public are reminded that they are welcome to use the grit in these bins, but it should be used only on public roads and footpaths. It is not for use on private property or business premises. If a grit box needs to be refilled, please call 08456 080919 or call 01224 241511 and leave a message, stating the location of the box, or use the Report It link on the city council website at www.aberdeencity.gov.uk We will refill it as soon as we can.
Aberdeen communities are again being given the chance to help themselves this winter, by taking charge of supplies of salt to treat their areas during harsh conditions.
The council is rolling out a community winter self-help scheme, following a successful trial last winter, which saw more than 30 tonnes of salt provided free across the city. Expressions of interest are invited from members of the community who are willing to get out and do their bit to tackle ice and snow locally.
One tonne bags of salt could be provided, where appropriate, which members of the community can use over the winter period to tackle icy areas. A secure and accessible area, like a driveway or garage, would have to be available for storing the salt.
Salt, snow shovels, torches, a first aid kit, and a stock of essential medicines are all high on the list of things every household should have before the winter hits. Many supermarkets and hardware stores are already selling winter supplies and the council is encouraging city residents not to wait until the last minute to buy them.
Aberdeen City Council general manager operations Mike Cheyne said: "Over the past few years we've had a good response from the community during the winter and people appear to be preparing better for it.
"Simple steps like making sure you've got enough supplies in, including medication, non-perishable food, salt or grit for use on your own paths and steps, and winter tyres for your vehicles; that your pipes insulated and fuel supplies are topped up, can make a huge difference especially if conditions are particularly harsh. Now is the time to start getting organised."
Motorists are reminded to drive according to the conditions, and are asked to be patient while salting and snow clearing work is carried out. The worst time to tackle any snowfall is during the peak periods with the gritters and snowploughs being stuck in traffic queues. To combat this, salting and snow clearing work will routinely begin in the early hours to avoid being caught up in the peak traffic movements, but unfortunately we cannot dictate the weather pattern.
Mr Cheyne added: "We have thanked motorists in the past for co-operating and working with us through some of the difficult periods of the winter and we look forward to enjoying that level of co-operation again this winter.
"As ever, we would ask drivers to treat gritters and snowploughs as 'emergency vehicles' during periods of bad weather and to allow them to get through the traffic so that they can get on with the job of treating the roads as quickly as possible."
As the winter weather approaches motorists and cyclists can take a few simple steps to ensure that their vehicles are as safe as possible to take out on the roads.
Maintenance is the key factor make sure your vehicle is well maintained and serviced. Ensure the brakes, lights, batteries, windscreens and wipers are in good condition and the vehicle is fitted with the appropriate type of tyres for the conditions; and check that the engine coolant levels are topped up and contain the recommended levels of anti-freeze.
Keep a supply of de-icer in the vehicle and ensure that the windscreen and mirrors are properly defrosted and cleared before setting off. If it's been snowing, make sure you clear the snow off the roof and bonnet of your vehicle so that it can't slip down or blow up onto the windscreen while you are travelling. Make sure you've got a cloth handy to clear windows and mirrors if they begin to steam up.
Bear in mind that visibility is considerably reduced when travelling in fog, heavy rain, snow, and hail, so increase your distance from the vehicle in front and use dipped-beam headlights at these times. Sidelights are ineffective in most conditions and should not be relied on. Cyclists should ensure they are using good lights and bright, reflective clothing.
Wet and frosty or icy roads greatly increase stopping distances, so make sure you reduce your speed in plenty of time when approaching junctions or queues of traffic.
If you are not confident driving or cycling during bad weather conditions, stay at home or use public transport instead. If you do choose to drive or cycle, make sure that you take warm clothing and a flask containing a hot drink, and a fully-charged mobile phone. If you can, take a shovel in case you get stuck and make sure you've got plenty petrol. Check the forecast before you set out on your journey, choose an appropriate route, and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
Council employees carry out salting and snow clearing work on city roads on a priority basis. Further information is available in the council's Winter Services Plan at www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/web/files//Roads/winter_service_plan.pdf Please bear in mind that all roads cannot be treated simultaneously. If there is a particular problem on a road, please call the Aberdeen City Council contact centre on 08456 080919. Problems can also be reported using the Report It link on the city council website at www.aberdeencity.gov.uk Please do not call the depot.
The council will also be using Twitter (@AberdeenCC) and our Facebook page to offer advice and keep city residents up-to-date with conditions in Aberdeen.
Local and national TV and radio stations and text services provide a useful source of information for motorists and travellers during inclement weather conditions and the Met Office provides a weather warning service, which you can subscribe to on the Met Office website at www.metoffice.gov.uk
For general information on main and trunk roads visit the Traffic Scotland website at www.trafficscotland.org
The Scottish Government has created a website to help people prepare for the winter weather. The Ready Scotland site at www.ReadyScotland.org contains practical advice and the simple steps people can take to protect themselves, their families, their communities and their businesses from the worst effects of all kinds of bad weather.
Scottish Water is offering online advice to help customers keep their properties safe this winter at www.scottishwater.co.uk/winter