Posted by davidburbage on December 24, 2009
Where were the gritters? asks the Advertiser today.
Well, they were gritting is the simple answer. The more complex answer is that you can’t grit all of the major roads of the Royal Borough in one hour between 3pm and 4pm, especially not when it’s full of traffic.
On Monday it rained at lunchtime. This didn’t help retain the earlier grit that was keeping the roads clear. Once the rain turned to snow, and the weather forecast had made everyone leave their offices at the same time, traffic jams compounded by snowy roads resulted. No gritter has the ability to bypass traffic jams, something that is worth bearing in mind.
I am confident that the Council were on the ball and asked our contractors to react in the best way possible given our information and resources available. Our Winter Service Plan, (I understand basically the same as the one we inherited from the previous administration), was put into action.
Elsewhere in the county, I know that other Councils are similarly being criticised for the weather or their reaction to it.
Here’s a taster from John Redwood’s blog, talking about Wokingham :
Machines too expensive? Yet another pathetic excuse from your local council. Our council has a bunch of trucks they use for everything. At the moment they have ploughs bolted on the front and gritters on the back. This is cheaper than us all staying at home and not producing anything.
When they run out of trucks local firms will help out as contractors. I have even seen a local farmer ploughing farm tracks under contract from the council.
Your council just can’t be bothered. Or have they spent it all on expenses?
and another (this time about the Highways Agency)
What did the met. office say the weather was predicted to be in Berkshire yesterday? Do the Councils have prior warnings of snow and ice from the Met. Office? The M3 yesterday afternoon was insufficiently gritted and ploughed, did this catch the met office out?
We taxpayers pay for the Met. Office don’t we to predict these events in advance, if they can’t provide the information we need why bother?
Reply: I heard them say there was the possibility of snow. The highways authorities just failed to do their job
apparently Kent also suffered from a lack of gritting :
Here in Conservative controlled Kent none of the main A roads were gritted ( and still haven’t been) Both Motorways M2 and M20 were closed so I guess they didn’t get gritted either.
Makes it all the more galling that having had to close my office because no staff could get to work due to council ineptitude with the road system I then receive a Conservative Borough Council business rates upgrade charging me £600 per year per parking space in MY private car park. Needless to say there is no adequate public transport system or sufficient long term town centre car parking.
In other news, Reading Council have been criticised :
An urgent inquiry into Reading’s road management has been called for after horrendous weather conditions brought the town to a standstill on Monday night.
And in other news, Wycombe Council have been criticised :
RESIDENTS have hit out at road bosses for not gritting icy highways and footpaths.
Buckinghamshire County Council has said it is gritting main roads only and will only grit pavements in “prolonged” snow and ice.
And in other news, Bracknell Council have been criticised :
What the hell happened today Bracknell Forest Borough Council. Im sure the council will claim that the roads were gritted. However the roads in Bracknell, Crowthorne, Sandhurst have been covered in ice for a few days now and many roads do not appear to of been gritted.
So why does it appear that they have not been gritted. I have asked a number of local people and nobody appears to of seen any gritting other than the town centre. Today I did see a gritting vehicle stuck in the same traffic I was in.
Now I understand that this did take the council by surprise but I do wonder why nothing was done between the two large snow events we recently had in Berkshire. I also hear that there has been the same problem in Reading, Basingstoke and Wokingham as well as surrounding areas.
One of my colleagues was stuck in traffic in Slough for some hours, like this commenter :
I was stuck in Slough as the traffic on both the A355 Farnham Road and A4 Bath Road was almost at a standstill so I spent the evening at MacDonald’s, commiserating with other non-commuters, until it closed at 10:30 pm.
Conclusion : weather and snow defeated the humans, on balance.