We spread salt on 778 miles of highway across the county on a typical cold/ frosty night on what we call our Primary gritting routes, this includes all A and B roads and some C roads. C roads are prioritised as those leading to schools, hospitals, fire and police stations and railway stations.
Secondary routes (224 miles) are treated when snow or severe icy conditions are forecast. These routes include link roads into a village, hamlet, urban estate and main feeder roads. All gritting routes can be found on the ESH website.
We don’t have the resources to routinely grit footpaths or pavements, instead we encourage residents to help themselves by clearing snow and ice from public areas near their properties.
Deciding when to grit
Our weather forecasters use the latest technology to predict when road surface temperatures will drop below freezing or snow will fall. We then use this information when deciding when we need to grit the roads.
We aim to spread salt on the roads before frost and ice are formed by freezing temperatures. Rain or snow can wash salt away, so we try to grit after rain has passed but before the road surface freezes. Where possible, we avoid the morning and evening rush hours – which is why people don’t often see our gritters in action; most of our gritting activity takes place in the small hours of the morning.
Gritting decisions are made at least once a day, sometimes more in colder weather and when conditions are likely to change.
We monitor weather conditions through the day, using our six weather stations (and cameras) across the County, located in Rye, Lewes, Willingdon, Golden Cross, Wych Cross and Mark Cross.
How to prepare
Every year we encourage customers to ‘get ready for winter’ by preparing for winter by keeping up-to-date with weather forecasts and road conditions, ensuring their cars are ready for winter weather and that they have essentials with them such as de-icer, scraper and torch.
We currently have over 900 County owned grit bins. These are all filled with salt over the autumn in time for winter.
Parishes and residents’ associations can buy additional grit bins from us if requested.