Gritting

Our gritting crews are on standby around the clock until the end of March, ready to treat the 321 miles of roads on our main gritting routes. 

We grit primary routes in the borough first; you can check these on our map, as well as the locations of our grit bins.

Once we've gritted primary routes, in really bad weather we'll move on to secondary routes. These include main roads in housing estates and other important urban and rural routes, including those linking towns and villages, and bus routes. In extreme weather we'll carry out additional gritting.

We also grit footpaths in some areas, like the town centre, shopping precincts and outside hospitals, schools and GP surgeries. Our snow plan shows you the areas that we grit and clear the snow from.

Our winter plan sets out our responsibilities for gritting and snow clearing.

Winter maintenance

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Grit bins

We provide 450 grit bins across the borough which we fill once in mid-November. Used correctly, this should be enough grit to last the entire winter period, so we won't refill them.

The grit bins are located in places that we don't grit; we don't provide them on request.

Areas we don't grit

We're not responsible for gritting areas we don't own, or for filling private grit bins, for example those outside bus/train stations and supermarkets, or those owned by Berneslai Homes. These are the responsibility of the owner.

Grit bins on new estates where we’ve not adopted the road are the responsibility of the housing developer.

How to use grit

The grit we provide should be used to treat the pavements and roads in your area that we don’t grit. You shouldn’t use it on your own property.

When using grit you only need one tablespoon of grit to cover 1 square metre of ground. Try to spread grit before snow falls as it needs to be activated by pedestrians walking on it or traffic driving over it for it to work properly.

Planning winter journeys

Follow @BarnsleyHighway on Twitter for updates and insight into our team's hard work this winter. You can also search for #SYgrit on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on gritting across South Yorkshire and make planning journeys easier.

If you're driving, make sure you've checked that your vehicle's ready for winter and drive with care. You can get the latest weather reports from the Met Office or sign up for Met Office email updates.

The Met Office has also produced some helpful guides about travelling during winter.

Questions we get asked

How do you know when to grit?

We rely on weather reports from the Met Office and surface temperature information from ice-alert stations at Penistone, Dodworth, Great Houghton, Hoyland and Victoria to predict when we'll need to grit.

How have you prepared for the cold weather?

In preparation for cold weather we have:

  • 9 gritting lorries
  • 2 small-bodied gritters to get into estates
  • increased the number of grit bins to 450
  • new systems of resilience management, bringing all front-line service into play

What are your road priorities for treatment?

Our priority is to keep the road network flowing and our first job is to clear main roads. Once these are flowing, we move onto secondary routes. We grit during the week, but if conditions are bad we'll also grit at weekends.

We grit 321 miles out of a total network length of 706 miles; about 46% of the possible gritting length. If we grit secondary routes this adds another 145 miles. We don't routinely treat every street - we don't have enough resources to do this. 

Once we've gritted priority roads we deal with the thousands of requests that come into the service.

What are your pavement priorities for gritting?

When conditions are so bad that key locations across the borough are affected by snow and ice, we'll activate our snow plan.

It sets out priority areas for treatment, including the town centre, local shopping areas, sheltered complexes and housing estates for older people, and outside schools, hospitals and GP surgeries. We also deploy tractors to clear public car parks. Once these routes have been cleared we move on to other locations.

The snow plan includes fixed routes that target areas with the greatest pedestrian flows. These routes are cleared through the week, or at weekends if the weather is severe.

There are about 1,120 miles of pavement, including the town centre, 66 public buildings, and over 300 other named locations in the plan that we deal with first, before we move onto other requests. Only when both of these priorities are done do we deal with the thousands of requests for service we receive.

If weather conditions are severe we mix grit salt with a dry grit-sand to provide traction under foot. This helps to preserve grit salt stocks if the season is likely to be a bad one.

Can I request a grit bin?

Any new request for a grit bin will be assessed and prioritised.

Community purchased grit bins, typically off the highway, are only refilled if grit salt is ordered from us and paid for.

Can I make a request for gritting?

Call our customer services on (01226) 773555 to request gritting.

We also receive special requests, such as for funerals and weddings. If we get sufficient notice we'll try to assist, if our resources permit. We do give higher priority to calls from the emergency services and public transport (bus) operators.

What don't you deal with routinely?

We don't:

  • grit private streets or unadopted roads - these are the responsibility of the residents
  • provide resources for schools, although we do work closely with them to make sure plans are in place either through us or other authorised contracts
  • provide resources for private businesses
  • provide grit salt to organisations outside our control and where worsening conditions mean that all our grit stock is needed for treating our priority roads

What services can you offer?

We can sometimes offer road and pavement gritting, and snow clearing, if customers want to buy these services from us. Call our engineering services team on (01226) 774122.

We have to plan these services well in advance of the winter season. We might not be able to accommodate late requests in busy periods as our teams and supplies of grit will be focused on our priority areas.