Salt stocks are in place and there will be no shortage of HGV drivers to guide the gritters through the Angus winter drifts.
That was the message from the area’s roads boss as he set out the £2.7 million strategy to help keep drivers and pedestrians out of trouble when the cold bites.
Despite forecasters’ predictions Taysiders might be able to turn the heating back off this week, infrastructure services director Ian Cochrane’s message to Angus residents is to be prepared for what lies not too far ahead.
The council has set aside £2.732m to keep Angus roads and paths clear of snow and ice.
A 19,000-tonne salt stock is in place.
It comprises 6,000 tonnes of rock salt stored in a barn at Forfar, with the remainder being marine salt stored outside at Forfar and Arbroath, and a small holding at Brechin.
Mr Cochrane said: “We have the rock salt already in the Forfar depot.
“The marine salt is currently in Dundee awaiting collection.”
HGV drivers’ situation
He was asked by communities committee councillors if the HGV drivers’ shortage would put any extra strain on winter operations.
Tayside Contracts operates the gritter crews for the councils in Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross.
Mr Cochrane said he was not expecting there to be driver difficulties.
He added: “In terms of drivers, clearly there are lots of conversations around at the moment about HGV drivers.
“Tayside Contracts have a reasonably stable workforce.
“They do have turnovers, as do most organisations, but it’s certainly not something that has been highlighted to us at the moment.
“We would be in discussion with them if there were any difficulties,” said Mr Cochrane.
A Tayside Contracts spokesperson said: “Tayside Contracts currently has no concerns over salt supply with all areas of operation currently holding a plentiful supply to begin the winter season.
“With regards to HGV drivers, Tayside Contracts currently has enough to cover all routes specified by our stakeholders and all areas of operation have, and will continue to, work hand in hand should any unforeseen absences or requirement for additional resource be required as the winter season progress.”
Standby winter cover in Angus begins on November 1 and will run until March 27.
An ice prediction system uses real-time date from stations measuring weather and road surface conditions across the district.
The monitoring bases are at:
Balgavies A932 between Forfar and Friockheim.
Balshando A923 between Muirhead and Coupar Angus.
Forebank A933 between Brechin and Friockheim.
Upper Dysart A92 between Inverkeilor and Montrose.
Upper Victoria A92 between Monifieth and Muirdrum.
Lochlair B9128 between Craichie and Muirdrum.
Ruthven crossroads between Alyth and Kirriemuir.
Possible changes to gritter routes
But a council member/officer group is looking at possible changes to the list to bring it up to date.
Carnoustie councillor David Cheape said: “The list hasn’t been updated for many years.”
He suggested some priority gritting routes may have been there to serve schools which no longer exist – such as Kinloch primary in Carnoustie.
“Is it worth councillors reviewing their own areas and coming back with recommendations for changes?” he said.
Mr Cochrane said: “We are always happy to hear suggestions from elected members, especially if it is something that should be taken off the list and something with more priority added.”
Harsh 2020/21 season
It meant the council went almost £1/2m over budget with its final winter maintenance bill of £3.098m.
Temperatures plunged to -13C.
The first gritters were on the road on November 19.
A late blast of icy weather meant winter operations were extended as far as April 18.