Why gritters are out on the roads in the middle of a heatwave

It’s not unusual to see gritters out on the road during winter, however in the middle of a heatwave they’re not what you would expect to see.

But, as temperatures continue to soar and the heat is expected to intensify, Cumbria County Council has come up with a novel way of helping keep the roads safe.

Instead of spreading salt, staff are on standby with sand for the roads to help prevent the tar from melting in these high temperatures.

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According to the Met Office temperatures are expected to reach 27C in Cumbria and there is an amber weather warning in place.

With temperatures expected to rise over the coming days, CCC is following industry advice and pro-actively treating their higher-risk network locations using sand and dust. This is proven to help the road from melting excessively during high temperatures.

A spokesman for the council said: “‘Dusting’ involves spreading a fine layer of quarry dust over recently dressed surfaces in order to nullify some of the potential effects of warming binder and extend the life of the dressing and it is carried out at similar rates to salt spreading during winter.

“‘Dusting’ is targeted to newly dressed carriageways and key routes dressed within the last few years.

“By applying dust through our gritters we are able to apply the right amount to treat the road surface to prevent excessive bitumen bleeding, with treatment taking place prior to the road surface meeting their highest temperatures.

“Salt, deployed out of gritters is ineffective in these circumstances. We would encourage drivers to be aware of the risk of ‘melting road’ for the next 48 hours and reduce driving speeds accordingly.”

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Lancs Live – Cumbria