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Winter roads maintenance

Gritter image

During wintry conditions our overnight gritting programme makes the roads safer and free of ice for morning traffic.

Gritting during winter period

We aim to keep the most important roads clear during the winter period (runs between October - March), which includes all main roads and bus routes. This is approximately 180 miles of main roads, equating to more than a third of the city’s entire road network. Our gritting routes cover all local hospitals, fire stations and major police stations as well as many school routes.

In order to keep our roads clear during winter, we spread rock salt also known as grit on our roads using gritters, which are specially designed lorries with spreading units attached. By spreading grit on the roads, it prevents freezing and ice forming maintaining safe road conditions and the safety of residents.

We are unable to grit every road in the city, so we provide grit bins for residents to grit roads, footpaths and known trouble spots. You can download a list of grit bin locations at the bottom of the page. The grit is not for use on private driveways and property.

Pedestrians are advised to take extra care as footways are not gritted. During periods of heavy snowfall, when conditions permit, snow is cleared from footways in the city centre shopping area, other shopping areas and heavily used pavements.

Find your nearest grit bin

We provide approximately 500 grit bins across the city. Find your nearest grit bin by using our online mapping system. On the left-hand navigation, select 'Show Grit Bins' under the Highways tab.

Requesting a grit bin refill or replacement

If your local grit bin is empty you can request a refill online using our dedicated request form. If your local grit bin is damaged and in need of replacement, please call customer services on 0116 454 1000. We will refill and replace grit bins as soon as possible.

Requesting a new grit bin

To request a new grit bin for your local area, where one is not already in place, you must submit a request to your local Councillor. Councillors can be contacted via email or in person at their local surgeries. Please use the Find your Councillor webpage and enter your post code, to find your local ward Councillor, their contact details and surgery times.

For the latest information on gritting

You can find out the latest by following us on Twitter and or Facebook where we will post relevant information to keep you informed.

For a full breakdown of how we undertake all our winter services, please see the Winter Service Operational Plan provided below.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) 

How effective is gritting the roads?

For grit to be most effective it requires the action of passing traffic to help activate it. The traffic helps mix grit into the snow and ice, dissolving it into brine and melting the snowfall and ice. Grit is less effective at temperatures below -5°C and has no effect below -10°C.

Which roads do you grit?

Whilst we would like to be able to grit all roads, we do not have the resources required and we therefore have to prioritise the roads we treat. We cover 180 miles worth of roads in grit, with the priority for gritting and snow clearing treatment being main roads, bus routes and other important commuter routes. You can find the gritting route map at the bottom of this page.

When do we decide to grit?

We use a specialist weather forecasting service and receive daily weather forecasts, predicting road temperatures and when they are likely to reach freezing point. This forms the basis of the decision whether to grit or not and what time to grit.

How do I know if my road or route to work is gritted?

Please use the gritting route map provided below to see which roads in the city are gritted.

How will I know when you are going to grit?

We will post messages on our corporate social media accounts to let you know when we are going to grit. Our gritters will usually go out at night time, when less traffic is on the roads and it is safe to do so. 

How many gritters do you have?

We have six gritting lorries and use four of them on each gritting run. In severe snowfall, we will use all six of our lorries. We also have fifteen specialist drivers and use four on each routine run. Our gritters are on call twenty four hours a day, seven days a week should a problem arise.

How many tons of salt do you have?

For the winter period we have more than 2,500 tonnes of rock salt stored in our depot and our rock salt stock has a maximum holding capacity of 2,700 tonnes.

Is my child’s school closed?

If it's snowing or very icy some schools may be closed. To find out if your child’s school is shut during heavy snowfall or icy weather, please visit our Schools closures page.

Why were the roads I use still icy if you have gritted?

No guarantee can be given that roads will always be completely clear. Treated roads can still have icy patches so drivers need to drive carefully at all times during hazardous conditions or not at all where possible. Be aware that if it rains, that can wash away the grit, which means the roads may then re-freeze after they have been treated. 

Contact us

Ring us on: 0116 454 1000