Gritters are heading back out on Northumberland’s roads as winter approaches.
Last year, Northumberland County Council bought seven new state-of-the-art gritters to increase its fleet which cover thousands of miles each year.
Costing more than £100,000 each, the hi-tech machines help ensure the county stays open for business, whatever the weather.
This year the process has become even more streamlined, thanks to technology developments over the past 12 months.
During last winter, the council thermally mapped and updated all the current primary gritting routes.
Over the summer, highly detailed information has been extracted and a new thermal map of the primary gritting routes produced to help staff determine which routes will need to be treated and when.
Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “With thousands of miles of roads in the county, our workforce is always well prepared to meet the challenges of winter weather.
“We have an extremely professional and dedicated team committed to keeping our roads safe for which I am very grateful.
“Thankfully, we have access to some state-of-the-art equipment which is developing every year so we can establish exactly where needs gritting and at what level.
“This is particularly useful as the geography of our county presents unique challenges where it can be snowing over the tops but bright sunshine at the coast.”
“And these days all the gritters are fitted with tracking devices to ensure their location is known at all times – providing an extra level of safety especially for those working in more rural areas.”