Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

This Time We Are Ready for the Weather; Highways Bosses Pledge to Keep Roads Clear

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

This Time We Are Ready for the Weather; Highways Bosses Pledge to Keep Roads Clear

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Weatherall

TRANSPORT chiefs insist they are up to the job of keeping the region moving after the first heavy snow of the year hit the North East.

Highways bosses have been quick to reassure motorists that they are well equipped to keep major roads free from snow and well gritted following the earliest snowfalls for 17 years.

Metro operator Nexus, who are also responsible for bus services in the region, said they too were prepared for the conditions.

Flights to Newcastle International Airport from Birmingham and Aberdeen were diverted, while services from Belfast, Bristol Sharm El Sheikh were delayed. The airport said all outbound flights remained unaffected.

Councils said grit shortages, which meant only certain routes in the region could be treated last year would not be repeated.

Many of the authorities had launched reviews of their winter highways response capabilities earlier this year following prolonged wintry weather which saw supplies of salt and grit reach an all time low. In Durham highways chiefs managed to grit more than 1,000 miles of roads during the last two nights after mounting a round the clock operation.

Terry Collins, director of neighbourhood services, said: "We have had 66 pieces of winter maintenance road kit out clearing and salting highways, while our seven new tractors are being used to clear pavements. "We have also fully deployed our streetscene, grounds maintenance, refuse and recycling staff as well as our neighbourhood wardens to help, while local farmers are also assisting the council in maintaining the road network in their local communities."

In Northumberland teams of gritters made sure all main routes were passable.

County councillor Alan Armstrong, executive member responsible for highways said: "We were gritting A and B roads across Northumberland and snow ploughs and gritters have been out in all areas of the county. …

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