Roads Minister warns motorists to take care

Press Release Image

Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 30th October 2016

Photographer Matt Mackey  / Press Eye 

"Roads Minister Chris Hazzard pictured at the salt barn in Belfast, as he launches his roads winter safety service.  From now until April 2017, 300 staff will be on hand to salt the main road network, supported by a fleet of over 130 gritters and 12 specialist snow blower vehicles."
Press Release Image Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 30th October 2016 Photographer Matt Mackey / Press Eye "Roads Minister Chris Hazzard pictured at the salt barn in Belfast, as he launches his roads winter safety service. From now until April 2017, 300 staff will be on hand to salt the main road network, supported by a fleet of over 130 gritters and 12 specialist snow blower vehicles."

Roads Minister Chris Hazzard has reminded motorists in the Coleraine area to take extra care while driving as winter approaches.

The caution comes at the start of the annual roads winter safety service.

Minister Hazzard said: “Darker mornings and evenings and lower temperatures around this time of year make driving conditions more difficult and I want to encourage all road users to take extra care on our roads this winter.

“While we can’t predict the weather winter may bring, the public can be assured that my winter safety service is now up and running and whatever the weather, will be working to keep our main roads open.”

TransportNI Northern Division Manager Deidre Mackle confirmed arrangements for the local area.

“Throughout the winter season from now until the middle of April, we will have 78 staff on standby to salt main roads, helping drivers to cope with wintry conditions.

“Salt barns and stockpiles are being filled to maximum capacity in Northern Division which encompasses the council areas of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Mid and East Antrim and Causeway Coast and Glens.

“When ice or snow is forecast, we have 38 gritters available which can salt the main network in just over three hours, a massive logistical exercise that costs around £20,000 each time it takes place.”

“Over 70,000 tonnes of salt is stockpiled and ready to be deployed should the weather impact on the main road network. 

“Reserve stocks of around 20,000 tonnes of salt are also available at strategic locations and additional salt bins are provided on a self help basis on routes not included on the salting schedule.”