How we look after roads in winter
We provide a winter gritting service during the period from early October to early April, to clear ice and snow from the public highway network. The gritting service covers 178 miles of the borough's roads, which is 38% of the network.
Our Winter Service Policy establishes what we will do during periods of bad weather to maintain the safe movement of all highway users, public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.
Where do we grit?
Seven primary routes are gritted. These include:
- All strategic routes
- Major bus routes
- Roads leading to fire stations, ambulance stations and hospitals
- Roads on significant hills/inclines and known trouble spots
Motorways are the responsibility of Highways England, including M6 junction 23 (Haydock Island).
When do we grit?
Duty engineers monitor the weather 24 hours a day and treat the highway when it's needed.
Detailed forecasts are provided by MetDesk on a daily basis. The forecast gives predictions of the possibility of freezing road temperatures, snow, rain etc and the time that these conditions are likely to occur. This enables the Duty Engineer to decide if or when gritting will be carried out.
There are two non-invasive sensors within St Helens. The sensors provide information on air temperature, road temperature and surface conditions. This data is used to provide forecasts which are specific to St Helens. Duty Engineers also have access to data from other sensors within the Liverpool City Region.
In times of prolonged bad weather, our local response arrangements may be influenced by central government control of salt and grit supplies through the activation of the salt cell.