Winter gritting

We spread grit when the Met Office forecasts frost or icy conditions, aiming to prevent ice from forming on the roads.  There are 495 miles of roads in Warrington, which is expensive to grit!  So we prioritise 192 miles of major, well-used roads and bus routes. We use a fleet of five grit lorries who grit the network in five pre-planned routes, spreading a total of 1700 tonnes of salt during an average winter.  It normally takes each lorry four hours to complete their route.  When we receive an icy forecast, we aim to have the grit lorries loaded within one hour.

Which roads are gritted

We grit 'primary' routes when road surface temperatures are set to go below freezing and ice or frost is expected. 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' routes are gritted 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

View the gritting routes on our online map

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

When we CAN'T grit

Sometimes there are situations when we can't grit the roads, no matter how accurate the forecast is.  For example:

  • In certain situations of rain, because rain washes the salt away
  • When it has rained and the temperature drops quickly - the wet roads may freeze before we have time to grit them
  • When early morning 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 be washed 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.

Cycle and footpaths

Cyclepaths which are part of roads included in the primary and secondary gritting routes are gritted at the same time.  Footpaths and cyclepaths alongside the roads aren't currently gritted due to financial constraints, but we review routes each year.

Town centre and shopping areas

Extra resources are brought in 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 so we can look into it and take any necessary action.

Grit bins

We try to place grit bins across the town in vulnerable locations where the roads don't meet the criteria to be included as a primary gritting route.  Priority is given to steep inclines that lead onto or from major road junctions.

Grit should be used on footpaths and roads, and not on private driveways.  After icy weather, grit bins are checked and refilled.

If you feel that a new grit bin is needed in a particular place, please let us know: contact@warrington.gov.uk. We'll inspect the location and place a grit bin there if we can. 

Clearing snow yourself

There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home.  The GOV.UK website has some tips to help you do this safely.