Road salting and snow clearance
When icy conditions are forecast we will salt the main routes in Kent as a precautionary measure. These are called our primary salting routes. We do not treat minor roads and lanes, and we are not responsible for motorways or trunk roads.
We use 64 winter service vehicles (including 4 mini gritters to treat narrower roads) to grit Kent's roads and have more on standby. We grit according to road surface temperature (RST) which is different from the air temperature and we have weather stations located across the county to help measure this.
Our primary salting routes cover about 30% of roads in Kent, these include:
- all A and B class roads
- busy commuter routes
- other roads that can become hazardous in frosty or icy conditions
If we are experiencing prolonged heavy frost, widespread ice or snow, we will consider salting another 15% of the road network. These are called secondary routes. These roads will be treated after the primary routes.
Although we treat roads in Kent, we cannot guarantee that all ice will be removed. Please drive to the conditions and make sure your vehicle is winter ready.
Our gritters are wide vehicles, so please park responsibly so gritters can get through, otherwise roads may not be treated.
Our snow clearing operation will take place when heavy and continuous snowfall settles.
We concentrate on primary routes such as:
- access to hospitals
- fire stations and other important facilities while it's snowing or if there are strong winds causing drifting.
Once the main roads are clear, we will work on other roads.
It may not be possible to clear every road, and some roads may have to be left to thaw naturally. If you have to drive, please be extra careful and be prepared should you break down or get stuck.
Snow ploughs only work effectively when snow is more than 5cm (2in) deep, they also cannot work on roads that have road humps or similar traffic calming measures.
How we clear the snow
We use snow ploughs fitted onto gritters to plough snow from the roads. We don’t grit on top of snow. Snow has to be ploughed, because grit will not melt it.
We have arrangements with approximately 117 farmers covering over 200 routes across the county, who can assist in snow clearance when needed.
We have 12 snow blowers and can hire extra machinery if we need to.