We spread grit when the Met Office forecasts frost or icy conditions, to try and stop ice from forming on the roads. We aim to have the grit lorries loaded within one hour.

However, due to our vast road network, it's not always possible to treat every road. Therefore we prioritise roads and bus routes that form most of our Primary Gritting Routes. We use a fleet of five gritting vehicles to grit the network in five pre-planned routes, spreading a total of 1700 tonnes of salt during an average winter. It will typically take each vehicle three to four hours to complete their route. 

Which roads are gritted

Primary gritting routes

We grit 'primary' routes when road surface temperatures are set to go below freezing and ice, or frost has been forecast. 

Primary routes are:

  • main roads
  • roads servicing hospitals, ambulance and fire stations
  • roads servicing high schools
  • bus routes with three or more buses per hour

Secondary gritting routes

We grit 'Secondary' routes after periods of prolonged ice or snow, and only when primary routes are considered safe. 

Secondary routes are:

  • roads servicing the hospice
  • roads servicing industrial estates
  • roads with less than three buses per hour
  • roads servicing primary schools

The M62, M56 and M6 motorways are the responsibility of the Highways Agency. 

When we can't grit

Sometimes we can't grit the roads, no matter how accurate the forecast is:

  • In certain situations of rain, because rain washes the salt away
  • When it's rained and the temperature drops quickly - the wet roads may freeze before we have time to grit them
  • When dew falls on a cold road and freezes on impact. It's impossible to forecast where this will happen
  • During rush hour, when rain turns to snow. Early gritting can't take place as it would wash away, and the gritters can't pass through the rush hour traffic. We do grit the roads to remove ice, but this isn't ideal, and the grit takes longer to work after ice has formed.

Footpaths and cycle paths 

We grit cycle paths that are part of roads included in the primary and secondary gritting routes at the same time. However, we don't currently grit pavements and cycle paths alongside the roads.

Town centre and shopping areas

We bring in extra workers to grit footpaths in the town centre and nearby shopping areas during prolonged periods of ice and snow. If you feel an area needs gritting, please tell us via Contact Warrington

Grit bins

We place grit bins across the town, especially in places where the roads don't meet the criteria to be included as a primary gritting route. We also put them near to steep hills that lead to or from major road junctions.

Grit should be used on footpaths and roads, and not on private driveways. After icy weather, we check and refill grit bins.

If you feel that a new grit bin is needed in a particular place, please let us know via Contact Warrington. We'll take a look and place a grit bin there if we can. 

Clearing snow yourself