Roads Service prepared to deal with snowfalls

Prepared to deal with heavy snowfalls, the DRD Roads Service in Northern Ireland have been on special alert since Sunday, following an advanced warning of possible snow from the Meteorological Office.

DRD Roads Service’s, Director of Network Services, David Orr, said: “Since Saturday morning we have spread around 4,000 tonnes of salt on Northern Ireland’s main traffic routes at a cost of over a quarter of a million pounds. The salting schedule covers 4,300 miles of main roads, that’s the same as from Belfast to Moscow and back.

“If snow is forecast DRD Roads Service will salt the scheduled routes at three to four times the normal rate of spreading. And if we get a heavy fall of snow we will activate our Snow Contingency Plan.”

The plan concentrates on keeping the motorways and trunk roads clear; focus then turns to salting the other main roads. Deep accumulations of snow would see DRD Roads Service deploy 16 snowblowers alongside the usual 140 gritters and private sector contractors called in to assist with the snow clearing operation.

Throughout the winter months, from November through to March, DRD Roads Service places 160 staff on standby every night. Six duty controllers who receive weather forecasts and monitor data from DRD Roads Service's 17 weather sensor sites located across Northern Ireland also closely monitor the weather.

However, Mr Orr explained that snow would inevitably cause some traffic disruption: “Snow is very difficult to disperse because of the volume of frozen material. Frost and ice are only a few millimetres thick while snow is much deeper, especially where strong winds cause drifting. Motorists quite rightly drive more slowly in the snow and leave more distance from the vehicle in front but this very necessary action does reduce road capacity and leads to delay, especially on roads that are congested in a normal rush hour.

“In the event of heavy snowfall DRD Roads Service advises motorists to travel only if your journey is essential. Stick to the main roads as far as possible and leave plenty of time for your journey. Make sure you are prepared for delays in the very cold conditions."

Mr Orr appealed to all motorists to drive carefully, even when roads are salted.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

16 December 2010
Winter Wonderland To Return
As national weather forecasters said that the North and West of the UK would be worst hit by another spell of freezing temperatures - snow showers are expected to return to NI later today. With several centimetres of snow predicted to fall in some places, forecasters said the renewed Arctic blast could last into the middle of next week.
14 June 2021
Civil Service Student Placement Scheme Extended
The Civil Service Student Placement Scheme is to be extended, Finance Minister Conor Murphy has announced. More than 100 placements will be available across a range of areas including accountancy, architecture, civil engineering, communications, law and policy.
09 May 2006
Roads Service to spend £6M on improvements
The Roads Service is to invest £4 million into the Armagh district and £2 million in the Newtownabbey area over the next twelve months, it has been revealed today.
02 December 2003
Local roads get record £80m spend
A record £80 million will be spent on structural roads maintenance this year across Northern Ireland. The figure was revealed by Deputy Divisional Roads Manager, Tom McCourt as he presented DRD Roads Service’s autumn report to Newtownabbey Borough Council. Mr McCourt said: "This is a huge increase in investment over previous years.
02 January 2013
Belfast's Oldest Tallest Tree Protected
The future of the oldest and tallest tree in Belfast has been secured, following the implementation of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). The Order was placed on the tree by the Department of the Environment (DOE) following concern from local residents.