The grit team of Wakefield Council is fully prepared for the upcoming winter season. All 36 gritter drivers have completed their training and are equipped to handle the dropping temperatures.
Cllr Matthew Morley, Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways at Wakefield Council, said: “Once again our team of dedicated gritter drivers are ready to keep our roads safe and open as winter starts to bite.
“Our gritting team come from right across the Council. We’ve got people from emergency planning, transport services, Street Scene, engineers, and procurement officers, as well as from highways. Some of them have seen some really severe winter conditions over the years and have missed family celebrations and other important anniversaries to help keep the roads clear and moving. The majority of the time they are working in the early hours of the morning or late at night, so they often go unseen.
“We’ve got some great characters in the grit team, but the one thing they all have in common is their commitment to turn out, night or day, in freezing and snowy conditions to try and keep us all moving on the roads. So, if you see them out and about this winter, give them a wave.”
The team, consisting of both men and women from across the Council, will provide a 24-hour service, seven days a week. They will operate 14 state-of-the-art gritters, covering more than 555km of main roads, which account for over 90% of all district traffic. This includes a precautionary grit run along 12 designated routes.
The priorities for the grit team include A and B roads, steep main roads to villages, housing or industrial estates, major hospitals, and large schools. Collaboration with emergency services is crucial to keep them mobile, and the team will also replenish 380 grit bins across the district. In severe weather, they will assist on minor estate roads to ensure continued bin collections.
Wakefield Council has a stockpile of over 4,700 tonnes of grit stored in a specialized facility, maintaining its dryness and enabling quick restocking of the gritters. A full grit run takes just over 2.5 hours, after which the gritters undergo checks, washdowns, and reloading before their next deployment.
Residents are encouraged to volunteer as Snow Wardens to contribute to snow and ice clearance around their homes. Snow Wardens work collectively to support neighbours and vulnerable citizens, clearing pavements, driveways, and local streets while the Council focuses on priority routes.
Cllr Morley added “We have a fantastic team of Snow Wardens in place across the district who do an excellent job in supporting their local communities, helping their neighbours and vulnerable residents, and their combined efforts make a great contribution to the whole of our district. If you are able to come and join our army of Snow Wardens, please get in touch.”
Snow Wardens are provided with grit, gloves, and high-visibility jackets. To sign up, call 0345 8 506 506.