Back Hill and other routes in East Cambridgeshire are now back on the winter gritting route, following a major public outcry.
As well as reversing its policy on night time street lighting, Cambridgeshire County Council has decided to restore last winter’s gritting routes – but it warns that even gritted roads can become icy in extremely cold weather, warning motorists to take care.
The county council has reversed its gritting policy and will now grit “secondary” routes such as Back Hill if a “prolonged cold spell” or snow is forecast or if road surface temperatures fall below zero – while at the same time warning that gritting may not prevent icy roads if the temperature is too cold.
On its Twitter account yesterday, the council said it would be out gritting from 7pm but said “with temperatures due to drop to -4 expect icy roads tomorrow and please drive to the conditions”.
It warned that “with such low temperatures grit is not as effective and ice can and does form on treated roads. Please drive and ride carefully and expect icy conditions. You can follow us on #GritterTwitter for up to date information.”
The announcement came after the county council made a u-turn on its previous decision to cut its gritting routes by a third this winter, following major public pressure.
The council will now be reinstating its full gritting routes in line with last year’s routes, but this may not be fully implemented until mid to late January, Lorna Dupre says.
The district councillor for Sutton and county councillor for Coveney, Little Downham, Mepal, Pymoor, Sutton, Wardy Hill, Way Head, and Witcham, welcomed the county council’s change of heart over gritting cuts, saying a Liberal Democrat petition to reinstate gritting to the county’s roads had helped to influence the outcome.
Ms Dupre said: “The unpopular and dangerous decision by Cambridgeshire County Council in February to cut winter gritting by one-third has been reversed. The same roads that were gritted last year will continue to be gritted this year.”
She said the decision to slash gritting by a third should never have been made.
“Public safety is paramount and getting around the county is essential for work, school, and our local economy.”
Although extra lorries had arrived in Cambridgeshire to take on the extra gritting duties, it would take a while to train the drivers, so a full service may not be available across the county until mid or late January, she said.
“The county council will start to reinstate routes as drivers and vehicles become available.
“This is likely to be district by district, with the order of roll out depending on the availability of drivers.”
A map, provided by the county council, shows primary gritting routes in blue, which are roads the council deems are “major connecting routes for communities and allow the majority of users to commute and access essential services across the county”.
In Ely these include Cambridge Road, Broad Street, Station Road, Prickwillow Road, Kings Avenue, some of High Barns, New Barns Road, Lynn Road, Downham Road and Cam Drive.
Secondary routes, marked in brown, “will be gritted in addition to primary gritting routes when there is a forecast of a prolonged cold spell and where road surface temperatures fall below zero or snowfall is forecast”.
The latter include Back Hill, Barton Road, West Fen Road, Lisle Lane, Columbine Road, Beresford Road, Witchford Road, Bray’s Lane, Deacon’s Lane, Fieldside and St John’s Road.
The M11, A14, A1, A1 (M), A11, A47 and A428 are gritted by Highways England.
You can check which roads are gritted on this interactive map.
Follow #GritterTwitter for Cambridgeshire County Council’s latest information on gritting and weather across the county.