Schoolchildren from Bradley Stoke had a rare chance to get behind the wheel of a council gritter during a special visit to The Mall at Cribbs Causeway earlier this week.
Against the backdrop of The Mall’s ‘Winter Wonderland’ visitor attraction the pupils from Baileys Court Primary School were shown around vehicles from the council’s 11-strong gritter fleet.
The vehicles have been on 24-hour standby since the start of November to keep the district’s roads clear of ice and snow, and have already been out on several salting runs.
More than 6,000 tonnes of salt – enough to last the entire winter – are held in storage at council salt barns.
During their guided tour, the children were told about the team’s work and also had the chance to say hello to ‘Snowball’, the gritter they named after winning a council competition last year.
Head of the council’s StreetCare service Mark King said:
“Winter maintenance is a vital part of the council’s work and we’re very proud of the service we provide in South Gloucestershire.”
“As the children learned today, we not only make the roads safe for road users, but also help ensure that our schools, businesses and emergency services can operate as normal during the winter months.”
“So this really is a service that benefits everyone, including Christmas shoppers, school children and their parents.”
The winter maintenance team runs a high-tech operation from its offices in Engine Common, with GPS-enabled vehicles and a network of roadside sensors used to monitor road conditions throughout the district.
Most gritting is done at night to keep traffic congestion to a minimum.
The service is recognised as one of the best-performing in the UK, both in terms of its track record in keeping the roads open, and in overall cost-effectiveness.
In 2009/10, a Government review highlighted South Gloucestershire’s winter maintenance system as an example of good practice, while in 2010 the Association of Public Service Excellence commended the service’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
The photo-call took place at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway’s Winter Wonderland, which features a NEW Enchanted Ice Castle, NEW Christmas train ride and NEW nursery ice rink, as well as the largest outdoor ice rink in the South West. The Mall’s Winter Wonderland is now open until 6th January 2013. For details visit www.mallcribbs.com.
Source: Press release from South Gloucestershire Council
Photo: Enchanted Ice Castle at The Mall’s Winter Wonderland. [Photo: ©Patchway Journal]
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