Get 2017 Off To A Gritty Start With Botanical!
Happy New Year! It is tempting to think of the end of the year as the end of the winter but of course it is really only just getting started, with two full months of official winter left plus however long the British weather decides will continue to be cold when spring begins. As winter deepens, snow and ice will once again begin to pose a hazard and gritting services will be required.
Though such an essential process, it is surprising how little is generally known about the process of gritting. For instance, did you know that the ‘grit’ used contains almost no grit at all? Read on for the facts about gritting from Botanical.
Winter Gritting Facts
In excess of 2 million tonnes of ‘grit’ (really rock salt) is used each year on roads in the UK. The great bulk of this is spread onto motorways, dual carriageways, main roads and trunk roads, leaving less than ⅓ of the remainder of roads treated
Winter gritting on UK roads costs more than £150m a year - this cost is negligible compared to the estimated £280m that UK plc would lose EACH DAY in delays if gritting were not carried out
Local authorities typically treat between ¼ and ½ of the road network under their jurisdiction. Most roads are inaccessible and impractical for large gritting vehicles to operate on.
The great majority of road salt used in the UK originates in Winsford, Cheshire, where a series of underground salt mines are located. Formed more than 200 million years ago when inland seas evaporated and left their salt behind, the mines were working long before the advent of electricity.
When mining at Winsford first commenced, it was a dark, dangerous and often deadly occupation. Unreliable, smelly tallow candles lit the miners way as they worked using shovels, picks and primitive explosives to excavate salt before carrying it to the surface in heavy barrels. The room-and-pillar method they employed created vast cathedral like catacombs deep under the surface of the Earth; averaging 8m in height and 20m in length, these imposing rooms are truly a sight to behold.
Modern production methods with heavy machinery have made the job much easier and allowed growing demand to be met. Look out for another article coming soon about how salt is used to help prevent accidents from slipping and tripping during the winter months.