6 December 2010

Winter staff facing more challenges with latest heavy snowfall

Scotland’s army of winter maintenance staff and all its equipment is working harder than ever to battle the elements following yet another onslaught of adverse weather conditions.
Despite the significant challenge today’s recent spate of wintery blizzards has delivered, more than 160 vehicles and almost 400 staff continue to work round the clock to keep the national road network moving.

Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson said:

“Scotland has been in the grip of the worst snow and ice conditions in the early winter since the 1960s, every effort has been made to keep disruption to a minimum. Snow was predicted for today but was significantly heavier than expected and timing during rush hour made conditions worse.

“Staff are working hard to clear the delays caused today and this evening train services are beginning to improve however we can not stress enough that travellers should exercise real caution by only making essential trips and planning their journeys in advance using the all available information.

“We can assure the public we are well prepared for winter. In the past ten days alone, an army of winter staff at Transport Scotland’s operating companies have clocked up around 30,000 man hours, travelled in excess of 750,000 kilometres and spread approximately 50,000 tonnes of salt.

“Parents, local authorities, government and people all across Scotland worked extremely hard over the weekend to deal with the severe weather problems, with great success. But both in terms of the volume and timing during the rush hour we were hit with a snowfall worse than forecast. Therefore, efforts have been redoubled to get back to the position we had established at the weekend, so that working together we overcome the difficulties now and move forward.

“That work includes seeking the extension from midnight tomorrow of the general relaxation we secured in terms of hauliers’ hours, so that we can continue to ensure that pressure points in the delivery of vital goods and supplies are resolved.”

Efforts have continued today with frontline staff using adapted vehicles and other resources to clear the large volumes of snow that has fallen in the past 24 hours, particularly in and around central Scotland.

Travellers are urged to exercise caution in their travel plans while this weather continues. Traffic Scotland and Traveline Scotland are also doing their utmost to keep travellers informed with numerous daily updates.

Journey planning information is available at Traffic Scotland and Traveline Scotland websites; iPhone users can download a free travel app that gives them access to all this information on the move.

Drivers should follow four key steps for safe winter driving
  • Check the weather forecast and road conditions,
  • Consider if you need to travel at all or can wait until weather improves
  • Consider alternative routes
  • Consider alternative modes of Transport
The Scottish Government has activated its Ready Winter section of the website which contains practical advice and simple steps for people including weather and travel advice.
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