Keeping the city moving in winter weather

Snow on branch
Snow clearance usually begins when snow settles for more than 24 hours

Newcastle City Council has signed a contract with a leading transport company to keep the city moving during winter weather.

Colas Ltd will treat the city’s roads with salt when there is the threat of ice or frost and clear snow when required to do so.

In addition, Colas have an agreement with Northumberland County Council to provide weather forecasting which tells Colas when to grit and in what quantities.

Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Regulation, Cllr Nick Kemp, said: “It’s very important that when winter weather does eventually arrive we have the capacity to keep the city moving.

“Not only is this important for our economy but also for the benefit of the public who come to Newcastle whether it be to work, shop or even enjoy the night-time economy.

“Colas have a lot of experience in gritting and boast a fleet of state-of-the-art gritters. I am confident that with forecasting from our partners in Northumberland, the city’s roads will be treated in good time allowing people to go about their business.”

It’s not financially or physically possible for local authorities to grit every road within their boundaries. Instead grit is prioritised and spread on major routes. In Newcastle this relates to about 32 per cent of the road network or approximately 200 miles. Routes cleared of snow amount to approximately 45 miles.

Associate Director at Colas Ltd, Dennis Greg, said: “Colas, a world leading highways provider, are proud to further develop our relationship with Newcastle City Council providing the winter maintenance service for one of our key customers.

“This innovative partnership, which we believe to be a first, brings together Newcastle City Council, Colas and Northumberland County Council to achieve both efficiencies and improved resilience to provide this essential service.

“We look forward to a long and successful relationship delivering this contract.”

The contract, signed earlier this year, runs until 2025.

As part of the agreement, a fleet of new gritters will spread grit along nine principal gritting routes, and snow will be cleared along six routes in the event of significant snow fall.

Gritting of pavements will remain the job of the city council. The council does not grit pavements generally however pavements in certain high priority areas are gritted such as entrances to hospitals, sheltered accommodation, schools and crematoria.

The council will also try to grit areas of high footfall such as Northumberland Street and other main city centre streets, and neighbourhood shopping streets such as Shields Road, Gosforth High Street and Chillingham Road. This happens when temperatures fall below zero for more than 48 hours.

Snow clearance usually begins when snow settles for more than 24 hours.

There are 906 grit bins at strategic locations across the city for members of the public to use. They are filled at the start of the winter and kept under review when wintery weather persist for long periods of time.