Moray MP and road safety campaigner Douglas Rosswas contacted by several motorists and pedestrians after icy conditions affected roads and pavements in Moray over the last two weeks. In several cases these surfaces remained untreated, resulting in some minor collisions and accidental slips on pavement ice.
Douglas said “ After being contacted by many concerned constituents about the state of the roads and pavements due to icy conditions over the last couple of weeks, I made contact with Moray Council to ascertain why this situation was allowed to develop with some areas not gritted at all.
“The morning of Tuesday 17th December was particularly bad. The Roads Maintenance Manager with Moray Council, advised me that Moray Council are responsible for maintaining a road network of almost one thousand miles in length and went on to say that it is impossible to treat every location at the same time, therefore each road has been assigned a Priority for gritting (from 1 to 4).”
On receipt of an adverse weather forecast, Moray Council will consider pre-treating Priority 1 roads to prevent the formation of ice, or to make the clearing of snow or ice from the surface of the road less difficult. The Priority 1 Network is covered by 13 gritting routes, which treat almost 40% of the Moray total road network.
Douglas continued “Due to the weather forecast received at lunchtime on Monday the 16th, arrangements were made to carry out an earlier than normal pre treatment of all priority 1 routes which commenced early in the afternoon to ensure commuter traffic could travel on treated roads. Unfortunately during, and immediately following treatment, a combination of rain, slush and snow on the high roads fell, which was significantly higher intensity than forecast. This contributed to salt wash off and led to the formation of ice on sub zero road surfaces overnight.
“Moray Council also informed me that they planned to carry out a morning treatment from 6am on priority 1 routes and to treat identified footpaths with available resources. However, a band of rain and snow fell between 5am and 9am on Tuesday morning (17.12.19). This landed on already icy roads before and during the time they were receiving the morning treatment.
“Following on from this P1 treatment, Moray Council diverted resources onto the secondary routes for the remainder of the day.
“It seems that these adverse underfoot conditions were created by some unique weather conditions that thwarted the efforts of the gritters deployed. The teams employed to keep our roads and pavements clear of snow and ice do a great job in difficult conditions. We have already seen one gritter lorry go off the road this winter, which shows the dangers these drivers are working in and they deserve all our thanks and credit, but I want to be sure the policies they are working to are fit for purpose.
“While I’m reassured that Moray Council prepare for such conditions, I hope they will also review the recent complaints that have been received to see if the prioritisation of routes is adequate.”