The huge cost of keeping Shropshire moving during the severe weather was revealed today – with a quarter of a million pounds spent on salt.
In a nine-day period from January 18 to 26 Shropshire Council’s gritters spread 7,000 tonnes of salt around the county at a cost of £250,000. The fleet of 25 gritters were in action round-the-clock on six of the nine days.
The gritters are run by the council and their highway contractors Ringway.
They took care of all of the county’s A and B roads as well as other high risk routes such as those by schools and hospitals. That equals 28 per cent of the highways network or 950 miles of road.
The rest of the network is looked after by 120 farmers/contractors, who use up to 200 tractor-mounted snowploughs, 25 tractor-mounted gritters and 12 snowblowers.
Simon Jones, cabinet member responsible for highways, said: “I’ve been very impressed with the way everyone worked tirelessly to keep the county moving throughout the period of heavy snow and ice.
“We’ve got plenty of salt left, too, so we’re fully prepared for any further cold weather.”
So far this winter the council has used 14,298 tonnes of salt. It has 14,100 tonnes left, with 2,200 tonnes on order.
Councillor Peggy Mullock, mayor of Whitchurch, said she was impressed with the gritters.
She said: “We were very pleased that they came and did the town centre early to help people get about doing their shopping. As soon as the snow started they seemed to come out and tried to clear the pavements too, that was a great help.
“The service has been better than in previous years and people in the town have recognised that.”
Alan Clarke, mayor of Ellesmere, added: “The roads were well gritted. Some of the pavements were bad at times but the roads were definitely alright.
“I think this year they were on top of the schedule rather than chasing it.”
Councillor Steve Glover, mayor of Market Drayton, said: “I was quite pleased with the way they’d taken notice of the weather warnings and got out there and did the necessary work.”