View gritting routes for:
About 30% of the borough's roads are salted (often known as gritting) when snow or ice are predicted, or when there is sudden and unforecast snow.
These roads cover about 240km, and they have been chosen because they are the most important ones to keep traffic moving.
The typical criteria for selecting these roads are:
- A or B roads
- main bus routes
- approaches to rail stations
- approaches to fire, police or ambulance centres
- steep gradients
During times when temperatures remain below freezing for an extended period, or when there is heavy snowfall, we give priority to the roads on the primary gritting routes. Of these roads there are 4 priority routes (about 70km worth) that are treated first, and only once the council is happy that these are clear will the remaining 9 routes be covered.
When salt is put down
Salt is spread on to road surfaces before the road becomes icy or snow starts to fall. This is known as precautionary salting. Depending on traffic, it takes our gritters about 2 hours to spread salt on the priority routes. We aim to treat the network before sub zero or snowy weather is forecast to arrive.
Except in the case of sudden changes in the weather, when an immediate response may be called for, salting will normally start at either 5am or 7pm.
If the time of salt spreading coincides with peak rush-hour traffic periods, gritters may become delayed in traffic and can get stuck along with other road users they are there to help.
How much salt is put down
Salt is spread at 10 grams per square metre for a frost warning. Salt can be spread at up to 40 grams per square metre for a forecast snow warning.
We have electronic tracking devices on our salting vehicles, as well as technology that allows us to see just how much salt has been put down at any location. If your road is on one of the priority lists and you do not believe it has been treated, contact us using the details below and we will check on the situation.
Effective salting of roads
Salt lowers the freezing point of water but is not as effective on top of ice or snow. To be most effective it needs traffic moving over it. Prolonged and heavy downfalls of snow will naturally affect the effectiveness of grit salt. As it dissolves it becomes less effective because it is diluted.
We have 4,500 tonnes of salt in stock ready for the winter ahead. With careful planning this should see us through to the spring, but if we do experience severe weather across the UK then there will of course be the danger of stocks running low and difficulties with getting new supplies delivered.
If the forecast indicates prolonged bad weather then street cleansing and grounds maintenance staff from parks will be called upon to help with manual snow clearance and salting of the pavements.
This will be done on a preventative basis for priority areas such as town centres and around stations.
The council has 577 salt bins that are all repaired and filled at the start of each winter.
These bins have been placed at locations where drivers or pedestrians may need to put down salt in an emergency. For this reason residents are not to take salt away for use on their private driveways as this could be extremely dangerous for other people if the bins are empty when they are genuinely needed.
If you are aware of an empty salt bin, contact us using the details below.
Salt bin locations A to K (PDF, 132 KB)
Salt bin locations L to Z (PDF, 125 KB)
Motorists should take great care when temperatures drop below minus 6 degrees Celsius, as there is a risk that salt will become less effective because the melted snow and ice may refreeze.
Highways maintenance team, Floor 6, Zone C, Bernard Weatherill House, 8 Mint Walk, Croydon CR0 1EA , United Kingdom