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More than fifty new gritters due on Scotland’s trunk roads this winter – children given chance to name one
The trunk road fleet will have the highest number of vehicles ever available for spreading salt and ploughing snow, with 205 located across the country. When severe wintry weather is experienced, all available vehicles will be deployed to provide support and help deal with any breakdowns or issues.
Since last year, 57 new state of the art new gritters have been brought in to replace some older vehicles and 29 of these are bigger than their predecessors and can spread more salt on road surfaces.
Salt stocks are also in good supply, with more salt either purchased or on order than was used across the whole of last winter.
To mark the 2015/2016 service getting underway , Transport Minister Derek Mackay has visited the Riverside Museum in Glasgow where two super gritters are on display until Friday so that children can visit it to find out more about the winter service and how the gritters work. They will also have the opportunity to enter a competition to name the two gritters. Once the winning entries have been chosen, each of the gritters will be branded with the name on the cab.
Around another dozen vehicles from across Scotland are being named by school children and the trunk road operating companies have visited selected local schools to get them involved.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said:
"We always have to be prepared for the worst weather. Extensive planning and efforts go into keeping Scotland's transport network running across the winter and this year will be no exception.
"We are doing all we can to try to mitigate the impact of whatever the weather can throw at us with more new gritters on our trunk roads. These are state of the art vehicles that can spread even more salt. This represents a strengthened fleet, with greater capacity and high levels of equipment and grit in stock.
"We are ambitious for our transport network and we want to see continual improvement. Our National Traffic Control Centre at South Queensferry is an excellent hub for operations where our teams have access to weather stations that are in place across the network. All of this information is available to the public on the Traffic Scotland website and they can log on to see the latest on road conditions in their area.
"It is great to showcase two of our gritters at the Riverside Museum, These types of vehicles have changed so much across the decades, Technology really plays its part in our winter preparations now, so I would encourage people to visit to find out more about how it all works.
"While it is good to see the children getting involved in naming the gritters, it is also teaching them about how we keep our roads safe and gives them more of an understanding about the science behind it."
Head of the Public Weather Service at the Met Office, Derrick Ryall said:
"The Met Office is pleased to continue it's close working relationship with Transport Scotland by supplying an advisor to work within its control room during the winter period. By continuing to pool our expertise we can ensure that the Scottish public are well informed and able to prepare for any severe weather that may occur over the winter months.
"Members of the public can also prepare by checking the weather forecast on our website - www.metoffice.gov.uk before setting off on any journeys."
POLICE Scotland is urging drivers to make a few simple checks on their vehicles before winter descends to reduce the risk of being involved in a breakdown or a collision due to vehicle defects such as weak batteries, faulty lighting, dirty windscreens and illegal tyres.
Superintendent Fraser Candlish, from Police Scotland's Road Policing Unit, said:
"We all want to keep moving safely this winter, and a few simple precautions taken by drivers to prepare themselves and their vehicles for the winter ahead will reduce the risk of avoidable breakdowns or collisions that cause injuries and lengthy hold-ups on our roads.
"Police Scotland will shortly be setting up a special section on its web site where useful information will be posted, alongside a link to a short video on You Tube which shows drivers how to carry out basic, vehicle safety checks. If you're unsure about a potential defect or unable to carry out the safety checks yourself, then ask a friend or family member for assistance or visit one of the many garages across Scotland that offer pre-winter inspection services.
Contract director for Scotland TranServ Gordon Wilson said:
"This campaign is a fantastic opportunity for young people to use their creative flair in a fun and engaging competition which also highlights the importance of winter operations and how Scotland TranServ keeps south west Scotland's roads open during winter each year.
"Two gritters will be stationed at Glasgow's Riverside Museum throughout the week so please pop along and have a chat with our drivers about keeping roads free of snow and ice across routes such as the M8, M77, M74, A737 and A78."
BEAR Scotland's Managing Director, Brian Gordon, said:
"We are ready for the winter ahead with our teams prepared for the worst of the cold weather. We have over 200 trained operatives and over 100 winter vehicles involved in carrying out precautionary treatments, patrols and snow clearance. Our control room is in operation 24/7 meaning we can act quickly to changing winter weather conditions on trunk roads in the north of Scotland.
"We've been getting our teams involved in the community by reaching out to local schools on our trunk roads and informing them about our winter service and the huge amount of work that goes into keeping people safe on the trunk roads in winter."
Operating Company Representative for Amey, Tom Wallace said:
"Our South East Trunk Roads Unit is better prepared than ever; with 82 operatives and 38 gritters based at six depots, which between them have a stock of 21,000 tonnes of Road Salt. With regular patrols and pre-emptive treatments taking place in response to the severest weather conditions we are working hard to keep Scotland's trunk roads safe and clear this Winter."
All entries to the gritter competition at the Riverside Museum to be received by 5pm on Sunday 18th October 2015.
Children can also enter online or by post – details at http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/name-gritter
Transport Scotland will select and announce the winning names as well as inform the winners in the week following the competition.
The two winners can visit the appropriate depot to see their gritter with the name branded on the cab.
The Riverside Museum is at 100 Pointhouse Place, Glasgow, G3 8RS. It's opening hours are:
Monday: 10am - 5pm Tuesday: 10am - 5pm
Wednesday: 10am - 5pm Thursday: 10am - 5pm
Friday: 11am - 5pm Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 11am - 5pm