With the current cold snap likely to last until Sunday, Hampshire Highways winter vehicles will be out again across the county this afternoon, this time adding community routes to the main roads being salted.

Community routes are roads to smaller schools and healthcare facilities Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “While the roads are seeing less traffic than usual as Hampshire residents stay at home to help curb the spread of coronavirus, it is important we continue to salt the roads people are using most – including hospitals and healthcare centres and surgeries which people may be travelling to when they are called for a vaccination, and schools which remain open for the children of critical workers.”

Hampshire’s main roads have been salted continually since the beginning of the cold spell this year.

These ‘Priority one’ routes cover A roads, some B roads, roads to hospitals and other key emergency hubs, large schools and colleges, and key public transport routes.

Councillor Humby continued: “I would urge everyone to take care when out travelling for essential reasons or for daily exercise; and remember surfaces may be icy and slippery, and conditions foggy with limited visibility at times.”

Forecast road surface and air temperatures, wind speed and direction, rainfall, and ice formation are all important factors in deciding when to send out the winter fleet.

Roads are treated with salt before temperatures drop to freezing to try to stop frost and ice forming.

Temperatures and conditions can vary significantly even within one county like Hampshire, so winter teams look at a number of distinct weather bands within Hampshire to help decide when and where to put the winter fleet to work.

There are thousands of blue or yellow salt bins across Hampshire being filled for community use.

Salt from these bins is for use on public roads and pavements, and can be particularly useful to ‘join up’ salting from the main road, carried out by Hampshire County Council salting vehicles, to smaller access roads and pavements. Remember that one tablespoon of salt (20 grams) is sufficient to treat one square metre of road or pavement surface.

Councillor Humby explained: “If footways are icy, everyone can help in their neighbourhoods by using the salt bins. Spreading a small amount of salt from the community salt bins on the pavements or smaller access roads not covered by the highways crews can make a big impact on frozen and icy surfaces.”

In addition to the preparations to keep Hampshire moving during the cold weather, Councillor Judith Grajewski, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Public Health, is asking the public to keep an eye on those who may be particularly vulnerable to the cold, such as the very young or old, and those with certain medical conditions while ensuring they continue to follow COVID safety advice at all times.

She said: “It’s important for everyone to look after themselves in the cold weather, but particularly so for people who are more vulnerable to suffering ill health in low temperatures, such as babies and very young children (under 5 years), older people (75+ years) and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or diabetes.”

If anyone is worried about an elderly neighbour or relative, they can call the Hampshire Coronavirus Support and Helpline on 0333 370 4000 (local rate charges apply).

For the duration of the national lockdown, the helpline is open as follows:

•         Monday to Friday – 9am-5pm
•         Weekends – 10am-3pm

Or out of hours, call 0300 555 1373.