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BEAR Scotland ready to go to war with winter in Highlands

By Tom Ramage

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‘Gritallica’, ‘Mr Plow’ and ‘Ready, Spready, Go!’ are preparing for war on local roads as winter's grip begins to tighten – with heavy snows forecast next week.

Some 180 winter operatives and 58,500 tonnes of salt will be mde ready to treat trunk routes across the North, the company said today.

BEAR will guard trunk roads over the winter
BEAR will guard trunk roads over the winter

The well-loved team of gritters are geared up for the drop in temperatures.

In all, 94 winter vehicles, including 37 of the largest spreaders in the UK, will be on hand to treat the trunk roads across the North West and North East of Scotland.

The eight-wheeler spreaders carrying over 15 tons of salt are part of the frontline fleet ready to carry out precautionary treatments and deal with snow conditions.

Over 180 operatives and 58,500 tonnes of salt will be dedicated to helping keep the 2,016km trunk road network as clear as possible over the winter period.

The team will focus on carrying out precautionary treatments which aim to stop ice forming. This involves spreading pre-wetted salt on routes forecast to experience low temperatures. This will be increased when snow is forecast and the full fleet will be on standby to deal with snow conditions.

Central to BEAR Scotland’s winter strategy is its 24/7 winter control room where Winter Service Duty Officers analyse detailed weather forecasts and road temperatures to ensure treatments are carried out as necessary.

Iain Murray, BEAR Scotland’s managing director, said: “The North of Scotland particularly offers a huge winter challenge to our teams with locations such as the highest Scottish trunk road at A9 Drumochter, the infamous A82 Glencoe and the A96 Glens of Foudland.

"However our dedicated North teams remain as committed as ever to keeping Scotland’s key routes open and safe for motorists over the winter period.

“We will closely monitor conditions on a 24/7 basis and do as much as possible to reduce the impact adverse winter weather that we’re faced with.

"We’d like to remind members of the public to also play their part and ensure their vehicles are well maintained and pay close attention to local and national media and online weather information to help plan ahead.”

Members of the public can live track gritters on the trunk road network using Transport Scotland’s online ‘trunk road gritter tracker’. It displays the current location of gritters and a trail to show where gritters have previously passed along trunk routes across Scotland.

Last year BEAR Scotland carried out over 9,081 treatments across Scotland’s trunk road network.

The winter service period will to May 15 and can be extended beyond these dates should conditions dictate.

More Strathy headlnes here

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