Gritters are ready for action as a cold weather alert has been issued for West Sussex with the Met Office expecting temperatures to dip to 2°C or below for the next few days.
The alert has been issued from today (Thursday January 14) until 9am Tuesday January 19.
West Sussex County Council is ready to swing into action and keep the roads safe in sub-zero temperatures.
The county council’s contractor Balfour Beatty has a fleet of 25 gritting vehicles on standby to grit 22 key routes across the county.
About 10,500 tonnes of salt is stockpiled at three depots located within West Sussex, with more available from suppliers elsewhere in the UK should it be needed.
Hippo bags of salt have been delivered for those parishes with arrangements in place to store them.
County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, John O’Brien, said: “We are fully prepared for any cold weather and ready to go.
“We constantly monitor the weather conditions and as soon as we see road surface temperatures getting towards zero, we make arrangements.
“If you are out on the roads, please take care and drive carefully.”
The county council’s priority is to keep major routes treated and passable during severe weather.
It is responsible for keeping all ‘A’ roads, ‘B’ roads and other roads of local importance safe, such as major bus routes, roads to schools and hospitals and large industrial establishments.
It is not responsible for the M23, A27 or A23 (those roads are the responsibility of the Highways England).
The county council says that prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases, as the cold can affect their health.
Icy ground is also a hazard that can lead to falls and broken bones.
Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, Christine Field, said: “We have had a mild winter up to this point but now the Met Office is warning us it is going to be a lot colder over the next few days.
“We would urge older people, families with very young children and those with chronic illnesses to take extra care during the cold snap.
“We would also encourage residents to take a few minutes to think about how this cold snap might affect older relatives and neighbours. If you can look in on them and make sure they are keeping warm and well. By checking on them or picking up essentials like food or medicine to prevent them going out unnecessarily you could really make a difference.”
The county council is reminding people eligible for a free flu vaccine and have not taken it up yet this winter to consider having this done.
The council is also reminding residents of tips to ensure you stay safe during the cold weather:
Have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm.
If you need to go out wear lots of thin layers and wear shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip to prevent any accidental falls.
Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C (65˚F), particularly if you are not mobile
If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and your bedroom just before you go to bed.
Some may seem obvious, but they could help you to stay healthy during the colder winter months.
More information can be found at www.westsussex.gov.uk/campaigns/get-
To find out about free services which can give advice on keeping warm and energy advice contact your local wellbeing hub at www.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk
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