We get daily weather forecasts specific to Conwy County throughout the winter. These forecasts include information on road surface temperature. We make all our decisions about gritting in the interest of road safety, based on the weather forecasts.
We aim to make sure we spread grit on First Priority Routes before ice forms. The roads network is treated again if the forecast is for frost or icy conditions. First Priority Routes include main roads, main bus routes and emergency services routes.
When snow is forecast we grit First Priority Routes in advance. First Priority Routes include main roads, main bus routes and emergency services routes.
We do not usually grit Secondary Routes such as minor roads and estate roads unless conditions are severe and likely to persist for several days. We will only grit then if resources are available after dealing with First Priority Routes.
When there are extreme conditions of heavy snowfall, we employ agricultural contractors to help clear the snow.
Gritting salt needs traffic to effectively remove ice from the road surface. Traffic movement helps to break down the salt granules into a saline solution which rapidly melts the ice and stops further ice forming for several hours.
Situations that can cause problems
No matter how accurate the forecast, there are situations when we cannot salt the network prior to icy conditions. Such situations are:
- When skies clear rapidly after rain. We normally start gritting after the rain has stopped (to avoid the salt being washed away). Sometimes temperatures can fall by as much as 5°C per hour and wet roads may freeze before we have been able to grit them.
- Dawn frost happens on dry roads when early morning dew develops, falls on a cold road and freezes on impact. It is impossible to accurately forecast where and when this will happen.
- Rush hour snowfall. When rain turns to snow we cannot grit early because the rain would wash it away. When this happens at rush hour, our gritters can get caught in traffic congestion.
First Priority Routes
First Priority Routes include main traffic routes, main bus routes and routes for the emergency services. The map shows all First Priority Routes, divided into areas.