MILLIONS of pounds have been spent on keeping Sheffield moving when this winter’s big freeze strikes.
A total of £2.1 million has been invested in a new fleet of 21 gritters – to replace 19 ageing models used last year – in a bid to prevent snow and ice paralysing the city’s transport network.
There are also 26 tractor ploughs, 24 snow ploughs and a snow blower available, in addition to a stockpile of 16,000 tonnes of grit.
All have been funded by private contractor Amey, which is running a £2billion highway maintenance project for Sheffield Council over the next 25 years.
With temperatures plummeting – and frost expected this weekend – highways staff are now on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the aim of gritting around 720 miles of the city’s roads when forecasters predict cold snaps.
They have been dispatched twice already, when sub-zero temperatures were predicted. Sixteen routes will be treated first as a ‘priority’ including main roads and streets leading to hospitals, fire stations and schools.
Chris Morris, Amey’s Operations Director, said: “We’ll be working around the clock to try to keep Sheffield moving.
“We’ve been hard at work planning for this winter, investing in the best machinery.
“We’ve trained additional drivers and have the benefit of former Street Force staff who have worked through some of the most challenging weather conditions the city has seen.”
He said the new gritters, worth £100,000 each, included bigger vehicles