Update on gritting given at committee and gritter drivers and support staff thanked for their hard work

All available gritters are out on the city’s roads this morning (7 March 2023) as the City Council deals with the huge dump of snow which enveloped Aberdeen from 5am to 6am.

The primary routes - the main roads which are about 50% of the city's roads network - were gritted twice overnight, once from 7pm and again from 4am, as well as during the day yesterday in preparation for the snow. Priority 1 pavements (Union Street and nearby streets) were also gritted from 4am.

The City Council’s Net Zero, Environment and Transport Committee heard an update from roads and infrastructure manager Doug Ritchie who said all available gritters will be out today and they are on the primary routes just now until they are clear.

Mr Ritchie said there are cars and buses stuck on many roads across the city which is impacting gritter routes however staff will keep going.

The gritter drivers, grounds staff, fleet maintenance team, support staff, and communications staff were today praised at committee for their hard work over the winter.

Gritter drivers have been working round-the-clock shifts since October and the City Council has had to grit primary routes three times some nights (as well as during the day) when it was snowing and to combat the constant freeze/thaw/freeze effect.

The Aberdeen City Council staff for the huge gritting operation involving several services and residents who salt their own streets were today thanked at Net Zero, Environment and Transport Committee.

Co-Leader Councillor Ian Yuill said: “The gritter drivers, grounds staff, fleet maintenance team, support staff, and communications staff have all worked tirelessly yet again, have been working hard all winter - particularly in the snowy spells such as we’re experiencing today.

“Even in difficult winter conditions such as this morning, our dedicated staff go above and beyond their duty to help people while doing their best to grit roads and pavements – and our gritter drivers are going to work themselves before the roads are treated.

“We also thank people who are community-spirited and spread salt in their streets as unfortunately we cannot be everywhere around the city at the same time as roads and pavements are prioritised for gritting.”

A total of 13,500tonnes of salt has been used to grit Aberdeen’s roads and pavements which are prioritised to ensure the main routes are kept open.

So far this winter, Aberdeen City Council winter resources have included:

  • 13,500t of salt used, 12,400t of which in December and January;
  • 9,000t of salt in stock;
  • 620 miles of roads in Aberdeen – the distance from here to Paris;
  • 1,242 miles of pavements – the distance from here to Rome;
  • About 180 staff at full capacity (some are grounds staff which assist when there’s snow or ice on the ground);
  • 900 wee yellow grit bins;
  • big community salt bags at 20 locations;
  • Roads are prioritised and the most important to keep open are the primary routes (the main roads which are about 50% of the city's roads network);
  • the primary routes road gritting usually starts at about 4am to 7am – so the 10 main roads are gritted while most people are still tucked up and cosy in bed;
  • Each primary route takes about two hours to complete from start to finish.

Road users are asked to be prepared by planning their journey, take extra time, listen to police advice, and work from home if possible.

Pedestrians are asked also to plan their journey and consider if it’s necessary, take their time, wear appropriate clothing, and have an alternative plan such as taking a bus or taxi, or working from home if possible.

People are also asked to be neighbourly and check if elderly or vulnerable neighbours need any shopping essentials.

Although it is March, snow is not uncommon at this time of year and stand-by gritting operations finish on 31 March but would carry on if there is snow after then.

  • Find out where the primary routes are, where people can get salt for spreading on their streets and pavements, and how gritting is prioritised on our get ready for winter page.

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