Salting the roads

We only salt and grit the most heavily used roads during the winter. It is not possible for us salt every road in our 1,100km network so we have to prioritise the busiest routes.

Footways and cycleways

We only salt the most heavily used footways that are susceptible to frost or ice. We only treat 7km of footways when prolonged icy conditions are forecast

North Somerset has a cycleway network of around 75 km. Due to the resources required, we are not able to treat the entire network.

In most instances, there will be a suitable alternative route along a carriageway that has already been treated. We recommend use of these alternative routes in times of ice or snow.

How we decide to salt or grit

We make decisions on whether to treat the roads based on the road temperature. We do not use air temperature as this can be very different.

Salt is usually used instead of grit because it has de-icing properties. Grit is only effective as an abrasive to break down ice and snow. Salt is less effective when the road surface temperature falls below -9°C, so when temperatures drop below freezing our gritters are sent out.

When it snows we switch from salting to ploughing. This takes longer, so we can only focus on our main roads (the A370, A38, A368 and A369).

Grit bins

Grit bins are installed near steep hills or areas that are at risk of repeated freezing, like under trees or in the shade. Anyone can use the salt in these bins for public areas. Make sure you use a shovel or a spade to get the salt out of the bin. It is very corrosive and could damage your hands if you pick it up.

It is illegal to use the salt on your own land, and you could be prosecuted for stealing.

Parish and town councils pay to have the bins installed where they think they are needed and we make sure that they are filled.

Think about where you park

Be mindful of where you park during freezing and snowy conditions. Drivers can often be nervous about parking on hills during icy weather and will park elsewhere, which can cause problems if vehicles are parked on a salting route.

If a vehicle has caused an obstruction, we’ll leave a card asking the driver to consider where they park in the future. Blocked routes could mean we are unable to salt or grit that road and could mean your vehicle is more at risk of damage.

Gritting and salting routes