Town and parish councils have been updated on highways maintenance ahead of yet another cold snap. The Shropshire Council’s current policy is to grit 29% of the defined highway network. The winter weather has led to an increase in demand on highways resources. and is increasing damage to the road network including more potholes. More out of hours staff have been made available.
Dear [council] Chairman,
Highways Winter Maintenance
On the back of the recent spell of snow and flooding our highways service are experiencing an extremely high level of demand. The freezing weather is also taking its toll on the highway network and generating even more potholes. Whilst we are very busy addressing and balancing these issues we do want to make sure we are aware of any specific needs or difficulties that your communities have been experiencing or that that you feel require specific urgent attention.
Our Highways team are currently in the process of contacting all of the contractors who provide supplementary snow plough and gritting support to make sure they have adequate supplies of salt and that they have clear lines of communication to our team, especially during out of hours.
Conscious that we still have a few weeks of winter to go, we are temporarily increasing the level of resources within our out of hours duty team to ensure we can deal with every request in a timely manner. Helpfully, a number of town and parish councils have already nominated ‘Snow Wardens’ who can contact us with specific concerns. An example of helpful support in that sense is the local monitoring and reporting the levels of salt within bins and the need for replenishment. We do have almost 1,000 of them and they can often be emptied within days of refilling. Do let us know if you think there is a need for any additional salt bins.
Whilst the Council’s current policy is to grit 29% of the defined highway network, in exceptional circumstances we do draw upon our contractor base to supplement that in other badly affected areas. The decision to instruct those extra resources is taken by the duty or off duty officer, and is based upon a combination of up to date weather forecasts and readings from each of the eight weather stations across the county.
Some examples of local difficulty have been reported to us recently, especially in some of our remote rural areas. Given the sheer scale of the county it is extremely difficult for us to identify those hyper local needs, especially as it can be the result of small pockets of bad weather. We are very grateful for the support we get from parish councils in helping maintain the county and for keeping an eye out for those particularly vulnerable members of our communities who may be need of help in clearing paths, spreading salt etc.
By way of wider background we are in the process of reviewing our Highways Winter Maintenance Plan to make sure that it is up to date and does reflect local needs, so please be reassured that any issues raised will inform that process and our future work programming. For example of the four worst recorded levels of flooding from the River Severn, we experienced one in January this year and one in February last year. It is also useful for you to know that we are also developing plans for a programme of capital investment in our highways that will be brought forward next financial year.
By all means please continue to raise any issues of specific concern with your local Shropshire Councillor, but for ease of reference the numbers we ask that you should call the highways team are:
- North: 01743 250440
- Central: 01743 254953
- South: 01743 257808
Out of hours:
- North/Central: 07990 085809
- South: 07990 086261
Many thanks for your continued support.
Prof. Mark Barrow
Executive Director of Place