Gritty fact is surprising

Users of Staffordshire’s 3,000 grit bins and salt piles are being reminded a little goes a long way, as wintry weather is expected to return soon.

Strategically located across the county’s highways network, most are restocked regularly while others in quieter locations are filled in autumn with enough for the winter season.

David Williams, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “The grit bins are there to be used when the weather turns bad, but we know that often people aren’t sure how much to scatter so they err on the side of caution and put down far more than is needed.

“Depending on the severity of the conditions, anywhere between 10 and 20 grammes of scattered grit is enough for one square metre of road.

“If people have trouble visualising how much grit to use, imagine that the equivalent of a one kilogramme bag of sugar could cover at least 50 square metres of road – which is about the same as four parking spaces.”

In addition to the county council’s daily gritting operation during snow and icy weather, grit bins and salt piles are placed at potentially dangerous locations, such as fast roads, hills and bends. A map of locations can be found here.

David Williams added: “A little goes a long way and what we do have is earmarked for the highway, not people’s driveways.

“We do have enough to help keep Staffordshire’s roads safe, but stocks will be used up far more quickly if people decide to take a little extra for themselves.”

Salt and grit work by creating a solution that lowers the freezing point of water, but it is triggered by being crushed by wheels or underfoot.

That’s why busy roads clear more quickly than residential streets with less traffic.

For advice on how communities could get involved in the provision and use of their own grit/de-icing salt supplies, please report your interest online at Go to Report It, then select ‘weather related’ and then ‘other’.

* Staffordshire County Council has produced a short film at one of its gritting depots showing how little grit is actually needed to be effective, which can be seen here.   

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