Gritting and salt bins
What do we do to ensure that the roads are safer in winter?
When ice or snow is forecast, we pre-salt our main roads (Primary Routes) to help keep them safe before the onset of snow or ice.
Which roads in the county are salted?
Resources enable us to pre-salt around one third of the roads in Gwynedd when snow or ice is predicted. Primary Routes include main roads, bus routes and roads outside hospitals. If severe ice is expected, or snow has fallen, other roads will be treated after successful treatment of the Primary Routes.
Do we treat footways?
No. Ice and snow on footways will receive attention as soon as possible subject to resources. Priority will be given to busy shopping centres, hospital approaches, schools, colleges, health centres and care establishments.
What do we treat the roads with?
Small granules of crushed rock salt. This melts and stops ice forming on the road surface. When roads are very wet, the salt does not stop ice forming and additional salt will be needed. Even on treated roads it is not practically possible to ensure that all parts of the road are free of ice. If snow is expected, our winter service vehicles can put down up to four times the usual amount of salt.
How do we know when the roads need to be salted?
We receive daily forecasts that tell us if road surfaces are likely to fall below freezing during the next 24 hours. If this is likely, we aim to spread salt before the onset of ice or snow. In instances where the weather changes unexpectedly, we prioritise treatment as a matter of urgency.
How do we salt the roads and how long does it take?
It takes up to 4 hours to salt our Primary Routes in Gwynedd. When it snows, we can get caught up in the same traffic jams as everyone else which can slow down our work. Our winter service vehicles travel at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour when spreading salt. They are programmed to spread salt on both sides of the road in one journey. When you’re driving keep a safe distance between you and the vehicles and do not overtake.
Can I use the salt bins at the side of the road?
The Community Councils are responsible for re-filling the salt bins. These are the Community Councils that have paid into the service:
They are usually placed away from the main roads near danger spots such as steep hills. They are there to help all road users, including pedestrians. Please do not use the salt on private driveways or paths.
Request for new salt bins on a back road should be directed to your local community council.
Do we pre-salt other areas such as schools, offices or car parks?
How well prepared are we to deal with winter weather?
We are prepared to deal with the effects of winter weather from October to April. We regularly maintain the winter service vehicles to make sure they are always ready for use. We have a stockpile of salt, stored in depots throughout the county.
What do we do when it snows?
Our first priority is to keep the Primary Routes open to traffic and make sure hospitals and other important facilities are accessible. When the main roads are clear, we will work on other roads but it may not be possible to clear every road. Some roads may have to be left to thaw naturally.
What equipment do you have for clearing snow?
All winter service vehicles can be fitted with snowploughs so that salting and ploughing can be done at the same time.
We have 5 snow blowers and can hire extra machinery if we need to.
Driving in severe weather
Useful information on how to drive safely in wintery conditions, and practical guidelines on how to prepare your home for winter can be found on the emergency planning page.