The Winter fleet for Scotland’s trunk roads has been expanded to help make it more responsive to weather conditions.
As well as more than two hundred traditional gritters located at 42 depots across the country, Transport Scotland has procured a new recovery vehicle which will help mitigate the impacts of flooding. It has been custom fitted with a remote controlled crane and specialist pump to help clear up incidents.
A new all-terrain 4x4 patrol vehicle is being trialled this winter on the M80. This can get to incident scenes during difficult conditions more efficiently than traditional larger vehicles and it can plough and grit if required.
A new combination gritter is also being used in the North West on the A835 after successful trials in Scandinavia. This gives more flexibility in the choice of treatments and builds on the success of the brine trials that have been taking place in the area.
Salt barns are full, with more grit available than was used across the whole of last year, and improvements have been made in our communications with road users thanks to the new Traffic Scotland mobile website.
Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf had the opportunity to see the new equipment when he visited the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre yesterday.
“Our teams work all year round to prepare for Winter and this year we are trialling more technology to improve services across the trunk roads.
“The last few Winters have seen a variety of conditions, with storms and heavy rain as well as snow and ice, and this requires flexibility in our response. The new equipment will assist in our efforts to help keep the network moving in these variable conditions.
“Road users also need accurate information so that they can travel safely and our communications network continues to improve. Our gritter tracker is back online so that people can see where our gritters have been out in their areas and our new Traffic Scotland mobile site gives them up to date information on the move.
“We can’t prevent bad weather from happening but we can strive to mitigate the effects. We are learning from best practice across the world and we will continue to do so to build the resilience of the trunk road network.”
Transport Scotland will continue to work closely with its partners across winter with representatives from both Police Scotland and the Met Office based at the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre in South Queensferry.
Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, Head of Road Policing, advises all road users to prepare for the winter months ahead:
"Road Policing officers will be working in partnership with the Trunk Roads Incident Support crews and other winter service operators throughout Scotland to keep everyone moving safely on our roads. Please help us and pay heed to weather reports and travel advice which are available from a wide range of media sources and updated frequently. We only ever issue travel advice when we see an increased risk for road users due to severe or very cold weather conditions. Take a few minutes to plan ahead for your journey.
"Please visit our website http://www.scotland.police.uk/ for advice on preparing your vehicle for winter. If you are a vulnerable road user such as a pedestrian, mobility scooter user, cyclist or horse rider, please use bright clothing/lights to help motorists see you from a distance when it is dark or in conditions where visibility is reduced. If you are a motorist, watch out for people on the road ahead and carry a high visibility vest/jacket to wear in case you have to get out of your vehicle due to a breakdown or traffic collision - stay alert if stopped at the roadside and don't take any unnecessary risks. Call 101 (or 999 in an emergency) to report any incidents you see on the roads to help us send the appropriate response."
Director of Government Services at the Met Office, Andy Kirkman said:
"The Met Office is pleased to again be working in partnership with Transport Scotland, providing advice and guidance through the winter months. We are ready to inform the Scottish Public of any approaching severe weather. Winter in Scotland can bring storms and heavy rain in addition to cold weather and icy conditions, but by pooling our expertise, we can help people to prepare for whatever the season may bring.
“Members of the public can also prepare by checking the weather forecast on our website - www.metoffice.gov.uk before setting off on any journeys."