Plans are in place to help keep Wales moving during the winter months, with over 216,000 tonnes of salt and thirteen new frontline salt spreaders ready.
In 2015 stocks at some local authorities reached crisis point but this winter Economy Secretary Ken Skates is keen to ensure Wales is fully prepared, whatever the weather.
Mr Skates said, “I’ve been on record more than once commending the excellent work that goes into keeping our roads as safe as possible 24/7, 365 days a year, and there is no doubt that the winter months are often the most challenging.
“Whether it be at a local or national level, it’s vital for communities and economies across Wales to have the confidence to continue to go about their business safely and with minimal disruption, and there are a number of measures in place to make this a reality.”
He explained that replenishment of salt stocks throughout Wales has been undertaken to provide a total stock holding of 216,000t. Arrangements are also in place to replenish these stocks as the need arises, with further salt reserves held by Welsh Government if needed.
Thirteen new front line salt spreaders are also available for use on the motorway and nearby trunk roads in advance of the winter season to further increase winter resilience, with all plant and equipment serviced to ensure everything is fully operationally ready and can be mobilised quickly.
Road-side weather stations have been serviced, with additional weather stations installed at beneficial locations for this winter season to ensure the most accurate weather and road condition information is available.
“This is all in addition to the usual patrols of trunk road before and after adverse weather to ensure drainage systems are working and our agreement with bus operators and others to notify Traveline Cymru immediately of any disruptions so that the public are notified at the earliest possible opportunity.”
On rail preparation for winter, he said, “Last year saw too many trains cancelled because of leaves on the track – something I felt National Rail and Arriva could have worked together better to prevent.
“While rail infrastructure is non-devolved I have asked my officials to press Network Rail on maximising their use of the specialist Railhead Treatment Trains and to press Arriva Trains Wales on their rolling stock and train-crew availability.
“I understand that Network Rail in consultation with Arriva have already undertaken additional vegetation clearance to minimise the effects of leaf fall, while Arriva have confirmed they have put in place additional measures to ensure the maximum number of trains are available during the winter. I am hopeful that these measures will be successful in reducing disruption over the coming months.”