Gritters are gearing up for another busy night
Roads across Devon have generally improved throughout the day, as highways teams have been working hard to clear them.
But with temperatures set to dip significantly tonight, dropping to minus 5 degrees in places, Devon County Council is reminding people to take care.
“It is going to be an exceptionally cold night,” said Cllr Stuart Hughes, the council’s highways maintenance spokesman.
“And with the snowy weather we’ve had, the roads are wet and therefore are likely to become icy.
“Travelling on the roads tonight should be avoided if possible. If journeys are essential and you must travel, take extra care and where possible stay on the main salting network – remember, in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming.”
Gritters have returned from their secondary routes this afternoon to re-stock before setting out again on the main, primary gritting routes this afternoon and evening.
And they’ll be out again during the night as road temperatures drop below zero.
In the last 36 to 48 hours, more than 2,000 tonnes of grit have been deployed across the Devon highway network. The response has called on the council’s fleet of front line vehicles, including 49 dedicated gritters as well as snow blowers, tractors and ploughs. And there has been additional support provided by the council’s subcontractors.
But it hasn’t just been about the roads. Elsewhere, county council social care teams have been working hard with care providers to ensure people who need care at home continue to receive it. They have been prioritising visits, working out of normal hours, and taking once again to foot, walking to visit clients in isolated areas where access by road was temporarily impassable.
The advice for motorists tonight is:
• Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures.
• Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming.
• Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed.
• Drive with care and according to the conditions.
• If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell.
• Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long-term illness or are 65 or over. The NHS website has more information on staying healthy during cold weather.
• Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions and ensure you have food and essential medications.
• Check out any school closures and sign up for alerts for any school.
For more information and travel advice from Devon County Council visit www.devon.gov.uk/winter_travel or for updates on Twitter follow @DevonAlert.
And on social media, the public have been expressing their gratitude: ‘Thank you, and thanks to your team of snow clearers.’
‘After a busy night at the airport it was great to be able to arrive home safely. Thank you to everyone involved in keeping Telegraph and the A380 open. Well done everyone.’
‘Great job by @HighwaysSWEST and @DevonCC keeping the A380 and M5 clear this morning.’
‘A big thank you to you all for keeping the roads open.’
‘I have travelled from Willand to Exeter this morning. Your colleagues should be congratulated on their work in clearing the roads. Thank you.’
‘Our dedicated band of snow wardens have done a fantastic job in their local communities. Many have gone far beyond the call of duty.’
And there were several comments of encouragement to Jody and Hannah, reablement team leaders at the council’s North Devon Social Care Reablement Team, who after driving so far, had to walk the remainder to reach an isolated client.
Highways England is advising drivers to pay attention to messages on the overhead electronic signs and listen for radio updates.
Further information can be found by visiting www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or by following @highwaysSWEST on Twitter