A new salt barn has been opened by Highways England in Cheshire, to keep the region’s motorways and major A roads moving this winter.
More than 2,200 tonnes of salt is being stored at the new £1.5 million facility – enough to treat around 5,000 miles of motorway.
The new barn is around 40 metres wide and 8 metres high, which is equivalent to a row of 8 terraced houses, and has been built just off the M6 close to Knutsford Services.
More than 41,000 tonnes of salt is currently being stored at 19 depots across the North West, and supplies will be topped up throughout the winter. A total of 73 gritters and dozens of gritter drivers are also on standby in the region to start spreading salt when temperatures are forecast to dip below freezing.
Andrew Olive, Highways England’s severe weather manager, said: “The new salt barn at Knutsford will play a vital role in helping to keep the roads moving this winter. We care about people getting to their destinations safely and during any severe weather our teams will be working around the clock to keep traffic moving.
“We’re asking drivers to make sure they and their vehicles are also prepared. Before you set out, check your vehicle, the road conditions and the weather forecast.
“If conditions are poor, and journeys are not essential, consider waiting until the weather gets better – this should improve journeys, and give our gritters a chance to treat the roads.”
Highways England is also asking road users to take extra care in the temporary narrow lanes through the smart motorway roadworks on the M6.
Steve White has been a gritter driver for 19 years, and works for Balfour Beatty Mott Macdonald – Highways England’s operations and maintenance contractor in Cheshire.
He said: “The new barn is in a great location as it’s right next to the M6 so it’s really easy to load up the gritters and then get back out on the motorway.
“I’d encourage drivers to be patient with us when they see us on the roads this winter as we come off at junctions quite frequently, and obviously the road in front is safer once the salt has been spread.”