Winter maintenance service
We are responsible for providing a winter maintenance service on adopted roads throughout East Lothian. We operate this service over 24 hours when necessary between October and April. Our aim is to provide an effective and efficient service within the resources available to allow pedestrians and vehicles to move safely. In severe weather, we treat up to 600km of roads and around 30km of footpaths.
Planning for forecasted conditions
We receive weather forecasts for the East Lothian area on a daily basis from the Met office. Our main priority is to keep primary routes free from ice and snow. To be most effective, the gritting should take place before ice forms or snow settles. Anticipating these conditions, and reacting correctly, depends on a mixture of local knowledge and experience, good local weather forecasts and an awareness of the current road condition e.g. is it wet, dry, previously treated or not.
We take action when road surface temperatures are at or below freezing. Roads retain heat and do not cool as quickly, so frost on a car or even air temperature can sometimes be misleading. Gritting will usually take place when temperatures are forecast to reach 0°C or below and there is likely to be water present to form ice.
Salt is spread on the roads to slow the rate of snow settling. The main difference between treatments for frost/ice and snow is that for snow the salt spreading rate increases. For snow to melt, the salt needs to be mixed with the snow to form brine and traffic movement helps this process. If the snow becomes hard packed this process takes longer and traffic conditions can worsen, particularly on hills.
Extreme Weather Events
An extreme weather event occurs when continuous snow is forecast and likely to give significant build up in excess of 10cm over a substantial proportion of East Lothian. The snow will also be expected to remain in untreated areas for a prolonged period due to low temperatures before a natural thaw disperses it.
During periods of extreme weather and heavy continuous snowfall when roads and footpaths are affected by significant levels of lying snow, priority will be given to primary carriageway routes and primary footpath routes. Gritters will be deployed on these specified routes continuously until satisfactory snow clearance has been achieved before resources are deployed to any secondary routes and tertiary routes.
Where possible, priority is given to treating major roads and important bus routes before ice forms. Once these main, or primary routes have been completed, we treat secondary routes and finally what are classed as tertiary and minor routes, such as those in housing estates, during normal working hours. We also treat footpaths on a priority basis, however given our limited resources, footpaths are not normally pre-gritted. Footpaths leading to schools, hospitals, health centres and shopping areas are treated first to remove ice and snow, along with those where higher numbers of people walk. Main routes leading to residential areas are treated next with footpaths within housing areas being treated as resources allow. View our gritting priorities tables for more information.
Non-adopted roads and footpaths
Local authorities are obliged to undertake winter maintenance on adopted roads and footways only. Gritting or snow clearing of private roads and footways is the responsibility of the associated private land owners. In new housing developments, the developer is responsible for winter maintenance of the new roads and footways until such time that the local authority has formally adopted them.
A1 trunk road
The A1 trunk road is maintained by BEAR Scotland on behalf of Transport Scotland. The main switch board for BEAR is via the Traffic Scotland Customer Care Line 0800 028 1414.