A vital new hub is up and running and ready to serve some of the most rural parts of County Durham in preparation for winter.
Durham County Council is gearing up for the wintry conditions by unveiling the refurbished 615sq m depot at Wolsingham, which will house the fleet of gritters and snow blowers under cover, protecting them from the elements.
It will act as the centre of the council’s winter maintenance operations and emergency flood response for the Pennines and compliments the recently-constructed 5,500 tonne salt barn on the same site.
Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “The development of our depot at Wolsingham is a clear signal of our commitment to keeping the county’s roads as accessible as possible during the winter months.
“The new facilities and specialist vehicles housed at the site will help increase the efficiency of our winter maintenance service.
“This is just one example of how, as a council, we are preparing for the challenging conditions we often see throughout the county, particularly in rural areas like the Pennines.”
In preparation for winter, more than 42,000 tonnes of salt will be stored in the council’s seven depots throughout the county along with a total of 70 gritters and four snow blowers.
Residents will also be able to access 2,500 salt bins at various locations to help clear the areas around their homes.
The council treats more than 1,700km – 45 per cent – of the county’s roads between 80 and 100 times during normal winter conditions but will also clear other minor routes where possible in severe, prolonged bad weather.
Footpaths in areas of high footfall, such as town centres, busy shopping centres, hospitals, health centres, doctor’s surgeries and care homes will be treated if there has been an extended frost or heavy snowfall.
John Reed, head of technical services, Durham County Council, said: “We would like to reassure people that we are doing everything possible in readiness ready for winter.
“Our salt supplies are fully stocked and our fleet of gritters are primed and ready to go out where needed throughout the county to help keep people moving and minimise delays on the roads.”