Gritting roads

We are responsible for providing winter maintenance on 620 miles of road - that's more than the distance from Aberdeen to Paris. It is not possible for us to treat every road at the same time. That's why we have a priority system to treat the areas in greatest need first.

We carry out early morning and standby gritting operations from 16 November until 20 March, or later if winter conditions continue. In severe weather, we operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

During prolonged periods of severe weather, our roads and ground staff work extremely hard to make sure you can travel safely.

If conditions are severe, we will concentrate all available resources on keeping the main roads open.

Please remember to plan your journey, allow for a longer journey time, and follow police advice.

View the latest gritting operations on each of the routes around Aberdeen:

Gritting priorities for roads

There are 3 priorities of road network:

Primary routes

Primary routes cover almost half of Aberdeen's road network and include:

  • Main roads which serve the larger communities and permit the majority of road users to travel across the city.
  • Major bus routes.
  • Roads around Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (roads within the hospital complex are the responsibility of NHS Grampian).
  • Roads near fire stations.

We grit these roads early in the morning between 4:45am and 7am to make sure the main roads are gritted before rush hour. 

Secondary routes

  • Roads that carry medium traffic flows or give access to non-urgent community or public facilities.
  • Roads connecting smaller communities to the primary network.
  • Link and service roads in the larger urban settlements.
  • Service routes not covered by the primary network (on bus routes, gritting will not necessarily be completed before buses start their journey).
  • Secondary routes on higher ground are usually a priority.
  • These include roads near sheltered housing and social work properties, cemeteries and crematoria, shopping centres, and access to facilities in parks and gardens.

We start to grit these routes after we've done the primary routes. 

Other roads

  • Minor roads where road users can make their way to the nearest higher priority route.
  • Local access roads.
  • Cul-de-sacs.
  • Residential roads in urban settlements.

We only grit these once we've done the primary and secondary routes.

You can view the full Roads Winter Service Plan for this year below:

Trunk road network

Transport Scotland manages the trunk roads that connect Scotland's major cities. In the north east, Amey manages the A90 and A96 routes on their behalf.

The public clearing snow and ice from pavements and roads

When there’s bad weather, we are continuously gritting primary and secondary roads and priority 1 and priority 2 pavements so it is very unlikely we will be able to grit other areas such as cul-de-sacs or residential streets. We provide one-tonne community salt bags, and 20 big community salt bins for residents to use along with grit bins around the city. Please only use the salt from these on public roads and pavements, not on your own path or driveway.

It is unlikely that you would be sued or held responsible if someone is injured on a path or pavement provided you have acted carefully and responsibly when treating the area.  This would most probably only become an issue if your actions had made the situation worse and not better.  For example, were you to use hot water to remove snow or ice, this could refreeze and create an ice hazard.  

It is highly improbable that you would make any situation worse by using salt.  If you are concerned about making a situation worse, please consider the following points:

  • Have I created a new hazard – so long as your actions have not created a hazard that was not there prior, you should be OK
  • Don’t use water – it might refreeze and turn to ice
  • Use salt if possible – it will melt the ice and will reduce the risk of it refreezing overnight
  • You can use ash and sand if you don’t have enough salt – it will provide grip underfoot
  • Pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways – using more salt may help
  • When clearing snow, consider where you move it to – try to avoid creating potential trip hazards with cleared snow 
  • If by clearing snow you have exposed ice underneath, treat this with salt to melt it.


You can also apply for a free one-tonne community salt bag. The application process and salt bag deliveries are usually in October/November every year.


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