In May 2018, Walsall Council, in conjunction with their highways contractor Tarmac, invited over 70 A*STARS (Active Sustainable Travel and Road Safety) schools across the borough to take part in a “name a gritter” competition.
Cabinet member Councillor Louise Harrison said:
“The children were asked to think of a name that was short and relevant and we think they’ve really nailed it – the entries were brilliant!”
“To thank the children who submitted the winning names, we invited them and their families to join us at our annual ‘Operation Snowfall’ launch day at the highways depot in Brownhills to see their winning entries on a vehicle. They also had the opportunity to see how the vehicles are loaded with salt and have their ploughs fitted and a ride in ‘their’ gritter around the site.”
The official winter service starts on Thursday 1 November, but this weekend was used as a 'trial run' to ensure that driving routes are clear for when the snow and ice begin to appear. 'Operation Snowfall' saw six routes being checked and timed. This work is vital preparation for when Grittney Gears, Snow Trouble, Selena Snowmez, Gritzilla, Grittendor and Thaws Hammer take to the roads to spread grit to guard against icy weather and help keep traffic moving safely.
In recent weeks crews have also been busy making sure the 200 plus grit bins around the borough are stocked up with salt for residents to use on roads and footways.
Councillor Harrison added:
"As always, we're well prepared for the winter and not just here at the depot. Decisions about whether we’ll be sending ‘Grittney’ and friends out are made on a daily basis by the winter service decision makers. The decision to treat the road network is based on the likely road surface temperature.
Harvey Cullen, General Manager at Tarmac said:
“We have a really experienced team, but it’s always useful for the drivers to have this run-through to make sure there are no problems.”
The winning entries were:
Grittney Gears - Bentley West Primary School and Watling Street Primary School
Snow Trouble - Mayfield Preparatory School
Selena Snowmez - Blakenall Heath Junior School
Gritzilla - Barcroft Primary School
Grittendor - St Francis Catholic Primary School
Thaws Hammer - Park Hall Junior Academy
For more information about which roads are treated and in what order log on at www.walsall.gov.uk/winter_service
As always, the highways depot in Brownhills is stocked with around 3,000 tonnes of salt which is ready to be spread on around 218 miles of roads which make up the six key gritting routes. It takes approximately four hours to treat the routes.
Residents and businesses can get the latest on what the teams are up to through the council's Twitter account @WalsallCouncil and Facebook page, Our Walsall.