10:14am Thursday 11th April 2013
By SNJ Reporter
MADAM - Even though we are living in an era of austerity and resources are scarce, Gloucestershire Highways seem hell bent to waste thousands of pounds every night salting our roads.
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the gritters now go out at the slightest hint of a cold night irrespective of the fact that the roads are bone dry.
In previous winters the roads were only gritted if there was a risk of ice or snow.
Gloucestershire Highways' policy this winter is that they spread every time there is sub-zero temperatures irrespective of whether the roads are damp or likely to become damp.
Although this has been a cold and extended winter the weather has been predominantly dry.
Take the past week and Easter period for example.
Cold nights down to minus five degrees with a bitter east wind.
However, road surfaces and even the car windscreens are completely dry all night with very little precipitation and risk of ice.
Yet every night Gloucestershire Highways have been spreading this horrible corrosive and expensive stuff on all the main routes.
A look at their Twitter page confirms spreading nearly every night.
They started this madness as early as October.
I reckon they have spread eight times out of ten this winter when there has been negligible risk of ice forming anywhere but the odd overflowing spring.
Just look around Stroud and sides of the roads are a up to a quarter of an inch thick with the stuff.
Proof enough indeed that there has been no ice and the roads are bone dry otherwise it would have dissolved rather than be blown around in the wind and by vehicles.
When rain does arrive this horrible stuff takes weeks to dissolve, ruins cars and cycles and goes straight down the drains into our rivers causing unknown damage to the ecosystem.
I have written to Gloucestershire Highways to question why they spread so often on dry roads.
Their response was that if they didn't spread they 'could potentially be liable in the event of any third party loss or injury'.
In other words they are trying to cover their own backs in case someone is stupid enough not to drive carefully, have an accident and sue the council for not salting the roads.
What a waste in resources this policy is and a crazy sign of the times we live in when everyone is trying to prevent litigation for failure to act to a strict code of practice rather than using common sense.
When the winter finally turns to spring I intend to find out how much money has been spent on treating the roads this winter.
Money that could have been spent on trying to repair our 'third world' roads which are a disgrace and downright dangerous for all its users especially cyclists.
I make a plea to Gloucestershire Highways.
Please stop unnecessarily spreading this horrible stuff, save the money and put it towards to resurfacing our appalling road system
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