GETTING READY FOR WINTER
4th November 2014
The drop in temperature is a timely reminder that winter is on its way. Last year we had a terrible time with storms and floods and in recent years we have had some very bitter cold snaps.
But it is good news that despite the many shortcomings over the past year, SCC highways and its contractors Kier May Gurney are well prepared.
Lessons have been learned from the struggle we had in the wild wet winter and spring to keep up with filling potholes which were soon washed away by the rain.
The biggest single action has been to acquire two velocity patching vehicles for use in Suffolk from the start of November to the end of February. These vehicles are best suited to the rural areas of the county and have very high productivity, meaning that roads with lots of defects can be quickly repaired. These vehicles will come into their own if we have anything like the problems of last winter, or if there is a sudden peak of potholes following a period of laying snow.
You can see that they are messy but – oh so quick and effective.
Other pothole repairs, especially in more urban areas, will be carried out using more traditional methods by two person gangs.
Unlike the start of last winter, ‘hot boxes’ are now in place at two of the three main Highway depots. This ensures that there is a ready supply of hot material direct to the repair gangs to facilitate more effective pothole repairs.
Stocks of specialist repair materials, such as Viafix and Instarmac, which can successfully be used in wet conditions, will be more closely monitored and maintained with particular attention to the Christmas and New Year period when asphalt manufacturing plants are closed.
The provision of severe weather and pothole challenge funding from central government means that there will be a large programme of planned maintenance and repair continuing through the winter.
SCC and Kier MG have been working together to ensure that the 1100 grit bins and 1300 grit heaps across the county are replenished before the winter and that there are robust arrangements in place to maintain these throughout.