With the colder mornings and nights now upon us, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is doing all it can to keep the main roads open and residents moving while on their essential journeys.

This is an unprecedented year, first dealing with the severe floods, followed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to affect all of our lives.

Throughout all of this, Council staff have continued with kerbside collections, Street cleansing and highways maintenance and has received lots of praise and comments from residents of Rhondda Cynon Taf, who appreciate all the work being carried out by our dedicated Streetcare teams.

Now, with winter weather closing in on us, the Council’s Highways team is on hand 24-hours-a-day, 365 days of the year – treating the network, whatever the weather.

While most people are fast asleep in their beds at night, with fewer vehicles on the road, the Council’s highways road salting fleet can be found making their way around the County Borough’s 125km of priority routes.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Out Of Hours 24/7 365 Response Team travel the County Borough whenever inclement weather is forecast, including the festive season, on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day if needed.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, with responsibility for Highways and Streetcare, said: “This is a very difficult year for us all, but throughout all the adversity, our Council staff have been there every step of the way offering as much support as possible to its residents and businesses.

“As we now head into the colder months of the year, it is good to know that support will continue in all of the Council’s service areas, especially Highways as motorists make their essential journeys in all types of weather conditions.

“Our crews will be out working whenever needed, maintaining the routes across Rhondda Cynon Taf, day and night, often whilst many of us are asleep in beds.

“But despite our highways being treated with rock salt, it’s important that motorists realise that they still need to take their time and drive safely, according to the winter conditions.

“Just because the road is treated, it doesn’t mean it is skid-proof, and one of the biggest issues our teams face is vehicles overtaking our gritting lorries as they treat the roads.

“We urge all motorists to slow down and be patient and acknowledge the work our crews are doing treating the network on their behalf.”

The Council’s fleet includes 10 frontline salt vehicles, 10 second-line vehicles with ploughs available, two loading shovels, 13 general-purpose vehicles and eight 4x4 vehicles, as well as around 40 tippers also available to assist during severe weather emergencies.

The Team take to the roads day and night and do their very best to keep us moving, often working in hazardous conditions.

All main salt vehicles are fitted with the latest technology in salt distribution, including trackers and salt monitoring systems, which allow the Council to programme the vehicles accurately, depending on the route and weather conditions. This results in a more effective and efficient use of the salt supplies, reducing costs and the environmental impact that the salt has on our County Borough.

The Council undertakes its annual Winter Service between the core period of October 1 to and April 30. In a single run of the Precautionary Salting Network (priority routes), staff cover a length of 267 miles – that’s the equivalent of travelling from Pontypridd to Birmingham……and back!

During each run, anything between 50 and 70 tonnes of salt is spread, depending on the severity of the weather conditions.

Throughout last year’s winter period, which was mainly cold and wet, with no significant snowfall, the Council carried out 59 winter weather actions, restocked 1,200 self-help salt bins located across the County Borough and used 4,000 tonnes of salt.

To become effective, salt needs to be laid on the highway by our vehicles and then crushed by other vehicles in order to dissolve. Salt becomes less effective when temperatures drop below -5C.

Residents are reminded that during periods of inclement weather, it is important that vehicles are parked safely in order for our vehicles to get through to treat the roads. Please avoid double-parking and parking close to junctions if at all possible.

Self-help salt bins are also provided to allow the public to treat highways and footpaths, not personal driveways. It is also a time to call on elderly, vulnerable, family, friends and neighbours to ensure their safety and well-being.

The Council’s Your Neighbours Need You campaign encourages residents to help each other, within Welsh Government guidelines, if it is safe to do so, especially during periods of heavy snowfall. The campaign promotes a number of small actions that ‘good neighbours’ can undertake themselves during severe winter weather.

Motorists are advised to follow television and radio weather forecasts, and the Council’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as allowing extra time for journeys.

Residents are also advised to follow the Council’s social media accounts for regular schools and local services updates.

View the Council’s Winter Service Operational Plan 

To report any issues after 5pm or at weekends, call the Council’s Out Of Hours service on 01443 425011.

Posted on Thursday 26th November 2020

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