OT Salting the road

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On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 21:25:32 -0000, Peter Taylor wrote:

Keeping the M4/M25 open? B-)
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Dave. pam is missing e-mail
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My wife went to get a bus in Norwich at 4pm the bus didn't turn up and the roads were gridlocked so she went back to work. At 7pm she went out to try and find a bus. She found the 3.15pm bus about 1/4 of a mile from where it had started and got on. She got home just after 9pm.
On the radio last night a highways spokesman was justifying their strategy on gritting saying they had gritted all the night before and started again at 2pm. Of course by 2pm it was snowing and people had already started going home in droves so the busy roads stopped the gritters getting about.
I note today the highways spokesman on the television was doing the usual post fiasco spin and 2pm has now become a much more reasonable sounding "just after lunch" Have bloody long lunches at the council don't they - nothing new there then.
Sam
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Sam wrote:

Round here (north surrey but won't say exactly where) I live on the side of a valley, so there's fairly steep roads around. We got gritters come round on monday evening/night fairly late, close to midnight. Come tuesday morning there were no gritters out at all, nor did I see any all day (my desk is by a window so I see them if they go past either of the roads my place is on, tis on a corner). We'd had a brief fall of snow, maybe a cm or two, on mon night after midnight. That melted over tuesday. No gritters tuesday. Brief fall of snow again tues lunchtime, again mostly melted. Still no gritters. Around 6 the snow fell thick and fast, still no gritters had show up. I saw none (their orange lights are visible right throughout my place, even with the curtains shut, they're damn bright and I like soft lighting in the eves) all evening, and from the look of things this morning there's still not been a visit by the gritters.
Can always tell cos the pavements take on speckles where the grit's flown far enough to get onto them. People around here haven't been snowed in, so if they can get a car around (with care, and impossible on *some* of the side roads due to icy packed snow from idjits who don't know how to drive up hills in snow) they should certainly be able to get a gritter around (ie, the local traffic isn't chockablock).
I think they need to re-examine their strategy of gritting, though it's interesting that they may have been pulled off more minor roads in order to grit the main roads. Having said that, on monday night I counted no fewer than three working the roads on the sides of the valley. One on this side, two on the other side (they show up for a long way on a clear night!) That doesn't suggest they're really in that short supply that they can't move *some* to extra main routes yet *still* get the minor ones done.
Velvet
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Peter Taylor wrote:

We got about the same here in Wilts, and SWMBO has just come home from work for lunch and tells me that the local secondary school has been closed "because it's too dangerous"! Apparently due to the snow/ice on the paths and playground.
So why close the school? Well, I guess that little Johnny might slip and hurt himself and his parents may sue the Council. So why don't the teachers clear the bloody stuff up? Well, it's not in their job description, so if they slip and hurt themselves they won't be insured, and may sue the Council. So what about the Caretaker? Well he hasn't been on the advanced snow-clearing course so his union won't let him do it and will call a strike if he's forced too.
Hands up all those who were at school more than 20 years ago who can remember their school ever being closed due to snowfalls of less than 4 feet or if the heating broke down?
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My kids have been off today, for exactly the reasons you provide. Their school has been extended so many times there are covered, half-covered and uncovered walkways between buildings and it seems that keeping these clear of 2" of snow is beyond those staff responsible. I strongly doubt any council buildings suffer from the same level of bodging and shoddy infrastructure (two drinking fountains for 1500 kids) - it should be the other way round, council buildings get upgraded only after everything else. Even the gubbinment seem to have a partial clue, with much of the recent capital increases being granted direct to headteachers and not channelled through the LEAs.
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Parish wrote

I saw a headteacher on our local TV news tonight saying the reason her school was closed was that at least half the staff couldn't get in. And the price of houses forces teachers to live miles away and drive in. That was in St Albans I think. It figures, to be honest. I never bother trying these days - I know for a fact I will get less than mile and come to a grinding halt for hours.

Remember making those lethal slides in the playground? :o)
Peter
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the innocent days before full-on liability lawyers and helfnsafeti...
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snipped-for-privacy@hp.com wrote:

Which was precisely the point I was making, albeit rather sarcasticly. The LAs are shit-scared of being sued so they take the easy way out. Maybe we parents should band together and sue them for failing to provide our kids with a satisfactory education? and, in the same vein, WTF are TD (Teacher Development) days? Maybe they call them something different in your area but they're the extra days holiday that kids get whilst their teachers are being trained. Why don't they do this during the school holidays? We never had them when I was a kid (teachers were trained _before_ they were let loose in a classroom).
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because nowadays teechurs have to keep up with all the New Initiatives, Reporting arrangements and Curriculum requirements as well as actually doing the teaching of the subject ...?
Barley Twist (Please put out the cats to reply direct)
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"Peter Taylor" wrote | > Hands up all those who were at school more than 20 years ago who can | > remember their school ever being closed due to snowfalls of less than 4 | > feet or if the heating broke down?
<hand up> But usually because the school buses couldn't make it.
| Remember making those lethal slides in the playground? :o)
Nowadays of course the kids are let off school and they make lethal slides on the pavements.
Owain
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I lived in Zurich for 2 winters, it often got below -20c, and we often had lots of snow in the city center. They NEVER salted. Much better idea than the UK obsession with salt. I would leave for work at 5am, and walk, there would be a guy with a snow blower cleaing the pavment onto the road. Brilliant place to live, I should go back, If only I could learn the language ..............
Rick
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They wouldn't bother to salt because it would be a waste of time. Salt doesn't work below -7C (?)
I actually think maybe having lower temperatures may help. Part of the problem in the UK is snowfalls often occur where the temperature hangs around freezing. Snow falls melts and then refreezes forming solid ice. If the temperature is much lower maybe the snow is more powdery and easier to move with a blower. It's also much easier to plan for a certainty - like guaranteed -20C temperatures with snow. Extreme weather is not a certainty in much of the UK.
What is annoying is how often the authorities in the UK seem to fail to predict expectable occurences. The development officer of Norwich City Council said, on the television tonight, that they had started gritting at 2pm knowing that it would take 3 hours ready for rush hour. It started snowing heavily about 2.30 so they got that bit right. Unfortunately they had failed to take into account peoples complete lack of faith in the councils abilities at keeping the roads open a hence the rush to get home starting about 2pm just in time to block the gritters. Doh!
Sam
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Rick Dipper wrote

I don't think that would have worked this morning as the snow here had already been turned into pack ice by 6.00pm last night. But it would help to know whether our authorities have investigated what they do in other countries like Switz, or even in places like Sweden and Canada where they have really major winters. Imagine the havoc here if we had a winter like theirs!
Peter
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On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 21:48:53 -0000, "Peter Taylor"

No point below about -7 anyway.

Schwyzerduetsch.... :-)
(Bit of a police state, though...)

I was in Sweden yesterday and talking about this with some business colleagues who were somewhat amused by the antics in the UK.
I've been driving around for the last few days and basically snow is simply mechanically ploughed off of the roads or people drive over or though it with snow tyres; although they do know instinctively how to correct a skid at onset. A little heater in the car is plugged in to a power outlet in the car park.
They did concede that it is harder to manage things when the temperature is between 0 and -10 than when it's continually below. I was up in the far north part a few years ago at this time of year and the temperature was around -43 during the day. Cars get around with little problem but there is a ready use of snowmobiles which apart from having a lot of flexibility on where they can go are great fun.

.andy
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Peter Taylor wrote:

Yeah, I would agree - no way a blower would have shifted what fell last night in the early evening. It was wet snow, not dry flakes, and very quickly formed a thick icy layer under lighter drier snow above. As soon as you walked on it, it packed right onto the icy layer below, that had frozen to the pavements on contact.
Salting may or may not have helped, given the wind chill had taken it down to about -4 when it fell, and later down to -10C overnight.
Tonight, we've had gritters come round. Tonight, though - after the thawing that had happened during the day had re-frozen. Cars and people have been tramping around all day packing it all down further. The front road is free of snow and ice except for the edges now, from what I can tell, though it's still wet so if it gets really cold tonight could still freeze over again. The side road on the hill is atrocious despite gritting, cars still sliding all over when trying to get up it. Not helped by the utter inability to do the right thing with their gear boxes and feet to help a car cope with snow and ice.
I learnt pretty damn fast how to drive a car on snow and ice, why is it that there are so many others that have either forgotton or never learnt? No wonder there's so much chaos on the roads when we get snow and ice. They should make it mandatory to learn to deal with bad weather and make it part of the test, or issue snow/ice licence additions, or something, to keep the worst of them off the roads in the bad weather.
Yes indeed, walking to work along pavements that have been blown clear of snow would be feasible. Walking to work along pavements covered in sheet ice and packed down snow just isn't feasible.
Off me soapbox now.
Velvet
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severe winters would help much. ISTM that it is much easier to prepare for that effectively, and also people in general are more prepared and experienced in dealing with snow and ice etc.
a big aspect of this does seem to be the budget/costs and the pressure to keep them down as much as possible. And I think that is always an issue, how much to spend on equipment that is hardly ever used?
The Highways Agency has 6-7 snow blowers in Yorkshire, they have never used them, though they have been used in other areas occasionally.
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Chris French, Leeds

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I saw some council workers out on a footbridge yesterday adding salt in big random clumps to the 2-3" of slush that was already there. A shovel would have done a much better job but that would have required more than 2 brain cells to figure out.
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adder wrote:

Remmebr this government is very good on micro management and what we shold think, not on actually allowing anyne to do anything on their own initiave, lket alone *shudder* actually encouraging it.
In fact, no government since the war (WWII) cabinet has done that.
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Couldn't agree more - Cryers Hill last night was a sheet of wet ice totally gridlocked. The A404 this morning seemed to be totally blocked. I think that I only got through on the way to work because so many stayed at home. No apparent gritting at all yesterday.
Rod
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Peter Taylor wrote:

How come you didn't go an buy 10 quids worh of sharp sand and dishwasher salt and shovel it on yourself then?

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