Hertfordshire motorists warned after road grit freezes

TEMPERATURES in Hertfordshire have dropped so low that even the salt on the roads has started to freeze.

Hertfordshire County Council is pleading to motorists to take extra care while driving, especially at night, after temperatures plummeted to minus six yesterday evening (Wednesday).

And county councillor Stuart Pile, executive member of highways and transport, revealed that the salt being laid down on the county’s roads will no longer work in such freezing conditions.

“The way salt works is that it turns the ice into salt water,” he said. “However, once temperatures drop to minus six or below - as we saw last night and are likely to see again tonight - the salt water itself freezes. This obviously leads to hazardous driving conditions and we’re reiterating our message that, if you have to travel, please be very careful.”

But he added: “The good news though is that, as temperatures rise to around zero during the day, the grit does start to do its job and improve road conditions.”

But even if conditions do improve, concerns remain over dwindling salt supplies, and the Government has now taken over the distribution of salt to local authorities, as expected.

Hertfordshire received yet another delivery yesterday – enough to continue gritting main routes over the weekend.

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And to preserve salt stock, the county council is no longer supplying district councils with its own grit.

Cllr Pile said: “Our priority has to be making sure major roads that are used by a lot of people are as clear and safe as possible. We do rely on travellers to appreciate that while we can keep most main roads passable, we cannot maintain normal driving conditions during severe weather and ask residents to take especial care on residential and minor roads. Pedestrians are also asked to take a great deal of care on pavements.”