There’s no magic fix to gritting say East Sussex County Council

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Gritters have defended the state of roads in East Sussex after a deluge of snow across the county, insistng there is no magic fix.

East Sussex County Council has revealed its crews had been working round the clock for the past 36 hours. Crews were out all night gritting and ploughing primary routes in the county when they put down 2,000 tonnes of salt in the last 24 hours - 1,000 tonnes during the night.

Roger Williams, head of highways at East Sussex County Counci, revealed that normally they would be expected to use around 150 tonnes on a normal frosty night.

“Grit isn’t a magic fix,” he said. “It takes time to work and in extreme temperatures even grit won’t prevent snow or ice from settling.

“When we put grit down, traffic needs to move over it to make it work properly.

“A combination of a big dump of snow falling in a short space of time and heavy slow-moving rush-hour traffic means grit isn’t able to do its job as effectively.

“Once traffic is queuing, gritters struggle to reach the problem areas.

“Our gritters are out again on all routes this morning. We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the day, but as temperatures begin to rise and traffic starts to ‘work’ the salt, roads will begin to clear.”

In the past 24 hours, several inches of snow has fallen across the region overnight, with more across the higher ground. The wind has caused drifting across higher ground too.

Most main roads are passable with care. However, the council has closed a number of roads, notably the Falmer to Woodingean Road, Ditchling Beacon and the A259 at East Dean where they are using a snow blower to clear drifting snow from East Dean hill.

The forecast is for a little more snow this morning, but for temperatures to start to rise from tomorrow and for the rest of the week.

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said that they echoed the message from Sussex Police that people should not travel today unless it’s absolutely essential.

They said in a statement: “People who must drive should adjust their driving to the conditions of the road, take appropriate footwear, warm clothing and a shovel.

“The vast majority of our 191 schools have notified us that they’re closed or partly closed. Some children’s centres are also closed.

“We will ensure that essential services for older people continue whatever the weather. Anyone with questions on this matter should contact Social Care Direct on 0345 60 80 191.”