WITH forecasts showing heavy snow set for Basingstoke tomorrow, Hampshire County Council said it is ready to keep the county moving and help those in need.
The council’s salt barns are full with enough salt for 15 days of continuous salting, and 3,000 community salt bins have been filled for residents to spread on public roads and pavements. Around 100 farmers are on standby to assist with clearing roads of snow using ploughs, and lorries are ready to salt Priority One routes – roads which carry 85 per cent of the county’s traffic – when temperatures fall to zero or below.
Other routes, including those to schools, doctors’ surgeries and shops will also be treated. Councillor Mel Kendal, deputy leader and executive member for environment and transport, said: “The forecasts we receive indicate that it will snow in Hampshire from approximately 4am and that it is likely to be persistent, with five to 10 centimetres settling across the county, although to a lesser extent in coastal areas.
“We will be salting the Priority One routes round the clock from late morning through to the start of the snowfall. In order to ensure teachers and pupils can get to school and people can still make essential appointments, such as with their doctor, we have already salted community routes this morning and will do so again in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
“I would ask people to do their bit to help, by using the salt in the community salt bins, to treat public roads and pavements near to where they live.”
The council is warning that water run-off from fields and high ground could wash away salt on the roads, possibly resulting in rural roads icing over when the temperatures drop. To minimise the risk of this, salt wicks – porous bags filled with salt – have been placed on various roads, to maintain a salinity level in the flowing water to help prevent it from freezing.
Councillor Kendal added: “If you have to travel, please follow advice on driving safely and check your local radio for news about the situation regarding public transport and traffic on the roads. Tread carefully if you are walking as it is likely to be slippery underfoot and cyclists are also asked to take extra care.
“It is advisable to leave extra time for your journey, if it cannot be postponed, and to ensure you’re prepared with warm clothing, a warm drink and snacks, charged mobile phone – with your breakdown emergency number in your contacts – and plenty of fuel.”
*Follow Gazette reporters @erobertsgazette and @HMortonGazette on Twitter for updates on the snow situation in Basingstoke. Use the hashtag #showwatch to contribute.