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Winter warriors prepare the city’s salt dome for snow season

Yellow & white gritting lorry in front of concrete salt dome

As winter draws ever closer, the teams at Streets Ahead are preparing for another busy season, ready for whatever the weather has in store for Sheffield this year.

With a fleet of 19 gritters and over 2,200 grit bins placed across the city, the winter operations teams at Amey will be on hand 24/7 when snow or ice arrives.

As part of the Streets Ahead highway maintenance contract, over 60% of the highway network is gritted in priority order before and during wintry weather conditions. Snow is cleared from busy pavements and pedestrianised areas, such as the city centre, hospitals and main retail areas.

Kieron King, Principal Operations Manager, with overall responsibility for Amey’s winter operations in Sheffield, remembers last winter:

“Winter 2021/2022 proved to be a very stormy one, with as many as seven named storms from the end of November.

“Despite having less snowfall than we’ve previously seen here in Sheffield, our gritting teams continued to work hard as they do each year to keep the road network moving when the weather turned. We completed over 113 gritting runs in total, spreading over 12,000 tonnes of grit on the city’s roads.”

Regardless of whether it’s a cold winter or not, Streets Ahead gets asked lots of questions about its winter service, and one of the most frequently asked questions is how we decide when to spread grit on the roads. Kieron explains:

“We have our own weather forecaster who provides us with a forecast in the morning and at midday every day during the winter period. Forecasters are on call 24/7 so we can talk to them whenever we need to. They also have access to ten local weather stations as well as national weather models.”

Gritting is prioritised into Priority 1 and Priority 2 routes, with the former always being completed first. You can find out where these routes are using the map on the website. Watch our handy Q&A video about gritting.

Grit bins are not placed on priority routes as they are gritted regularly but if your local grit bin is empty at any time over winter, you can let Streets Ahead know, using the website or Twitter, and the team will refill it as quickly as possible. You can also find out how to hand spread grit by watching the video on our website. 

Councillor Joe Otten, Chair of the Waste & Street Scene Policy Committee at Sheffield City Council, said:

“Winter is always a busy time for Streets Ahead and knowing when to grit and how frequently requires complex planning and thorough organisation.

“Geographically, our city is hilly, which provides further challenges when we get snow or ice and whilst Streets Ahead deliver a robust gritting programme, we all need to do our bit in challenging weather conditions by taking extra care, allowing more time for journeys, and monitoring the forecast frequently.

“We know many people viewed our traffic camera images online last year to monitor the conditions in different areas of the city and we would encourage people to do so again should adverse weather arrive.”

For those who have further questions about our winter service or simply want to say hello to our team members, we will be holding a winter service event in the city centre this year on the 18th of October on The Moor from 9.30 am until 12 noon.

If you want to find out more about our winter maintenance programme and speak to one of our gritter drivers, then please feel free to come along. We’ll also have copies of our winter leaflet that tells you all you need to know about our service over the winter months.

For more information about gritting routes, grit bin locations and to watch our winter videos, visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/winter, call 0114 273 4567 or follow @sccstreetsahead on Twitter for real-time updates during bad weather.