Gritting fleet travels twice around world

Oxfordshire County Council gritting lorries. NNL-171004-103414001
Oxfordshire County Council gritting lorries. NNL-171004-103414001

Oxfordshire’s fleet of gritters travelled the equivalent of more than twice around the world this past winter.

A total of 85,905 kilometres was covered by the county’s 28 gritters compared to 2015/16 when 64,224 kilometres was covered.

An infographic on gritting in Oxfordshire. NNL-171004-103344001

An infographic on gritting in Oxfordshire. NNL-171004-103344001

They were sent out on 45 occasions including three times in the space of 12 hours on January 12/13 and on Boxing Day and other days over the Christmas break.

A total of 8,880 tonnes of salt were used. Gritters are on standby from October 28 to April. County council gritters are responsible for A and B roads while Highways England is responsible for gritting the M40, A34 and A43.

Paul Wilson, Oxfordshire County Council’s highways network resilience co-ordinator, said: “Although the winter of 2016/17 will be remembered in England more for February’s Storm Doris rather than colder weather we still had a number of cold nights that warranted the gritters being dispatched on to our roads.

“Travelling a distance of over twice around the world sounds a lot but actually it is well within the range of what we’d expect to cover during the winter and is less surprising when you consider that one countywide gritting run in Oxfordshire is the equivalent distance of London to Iceland – approximately 1,200 miles.

“Although gritting helps keep the roads safe it is not a magic elixir that means the winter can be kept at bay for motorists. The other half of the equation is people driving to the conditions – which I think most people are sensible enough to do.”