The Road Maintenance Partnership covering the Perth and Kinross area is due to outline plans for the Council’s Winter Maintenance Programme for 2014/15 at the Enterprise and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday, September 3.
One of the proposals for the upcoming winter is to conduct a trial of new de-icing treatments across the roads and footpaths network. The trial will involve using a brine solution to improve adhesion of salt to the carriageway surface. This will provide greater residual salt levels on the carriageways which should reduce the number of treatments required. This new method could potentially generate a saving of £4,000 over the winter period.
Using the brine treatment on footways will lessen the impact of rock salt lying on paths causing a problem for local businesses.
For winter 2013/14 the salt order was 24,000 tonnes which is similar to the total amount of salt used during the previous winter. For winter 2014/15 it is intended to pre-order and hold salt stocks at the same level. The Council utilises salt conservation levels which includes the use of a salt/grit sand mix; this approach was trialed last year and, following its success, will be the normal specification for treatment this year. This approach will also help conserve salt stocks.
The Council currently provides in excess of 1300 grit bins. This reflects the Council’s to encourage self-help and the decision not to treat some minor roads routinely. In order to constrain costs, the criteria to establish where a bins is located must be followed at all times. Generally grit bins will be provided on steep gradients, tight bends and steps, or in some cases where there is a specific community need.
There are currently voluntary arrangements with around 70 farmers to whom the Council supplies snow ploughs which are fitted to their vehicles to clear snow on a specific length of public road as well as to clear their own private roads. This is in total just under 8% of the overall Council network. In areas where the local roads network has little coverage by the farmers scheme, additional farmers will be approached for the upcoming winter.
Another significant change for this year is the installation of an additional IEWS in the Burghmuir area of Perth, where a gap in real time information is evident, and to install cameras at two existing IEWS sites at South Persie on the A93 and Rosefiled on the A94. These new cameras will provide better management information to enable appropriate decisions to be made.
The traffic and network team will also utilise social media channels to provide real time updates and information on the local roads and footways network to the public.
Councillor Joe Giacopazzi, Vice Convener of the Enterprise and Infrastructure Committee, said: “We are committed to ensuring that our winter maintenance programme is the best it can be to give our residents peace of mind when travelling during adverse conditions. Last year, winter was milder than expected but that doesn’t mean we can expect the same this year and for that reason we can never be complacent when it comes to planning for the upcoming season.
“To ensure our programme is efficient we are willing to take an innovative approach and where we are confident new treatment methods can be beneficial we will endeavor to trial them in our area if it is a feasible method of treatment. I would also ask our residents to also help where possible; the responsibility for the roads and footpath network is huge and any assistance that can be provided by local is always welcomed.”