Salting and snow clearance

How we keep roads clear of ice and snow in winter.

We are committed to keeping a network of major roads free from ice to minimise the risk of accidents and ensure the smooth flow of traffic. Precautionary salting (sometimes called 'gritting') helps achieve this aim.

Salting/gritting updates

 
 

The above data is updated daily between 1 November 2013 and 31 March 2014 with our salting decisions but may be extended if weather conditions require it.

Where we salt

 

The following maps show all the roads that will receive attention:

Map showing salting zonesWe anticipate that each salting route will take approximately three hours to complete. All routes will be undertaken simultaneously.

We aim to have all work completed before ice would form on road surfaces.

It would be unrealistic and uneconomic to salt all roads, although we do manage to treat 43 per cent of the county council's road network which is above the national average and comparable to neighbouring authorities. Certain county roads have been identified as important routes because they:

  • carry large volumes of traffic
  • provide vital access for rural communities
  • are known problem sites
  • provide access to hospitals and fire stations
  • are main bus routes.

When we salt

We decide when to carry out precautionary salting using:

  • regular weather forecasts specifically for road conditions on Oxfordshire's roads
  • a computerised ice prediction system which compares forecast conditions against actual road temperatures measured at five weather stations around the county
  • a through-the-night watch on conditions
  • the local knowledge of staff to judge when to best carry out precautionary salting.

Even if freezing temperatures are predicted, there may be no need for precautionary salting if:

  • there is enough salt left on the road from the previous salting
  • no rain has fallen and roads are dry, as ice will not form.

Safety

Although we make great efforts to keep roads clear in winter, drivers must never assume that a road will be free from ice. This is because:

  • in certain circumstances we may treat priority routes only
  • salt can have a limited effect in severe cold conditions
  • high winds or rain can remove salt from road surfaces before temperatures fall
  • many minor roads do not get salted.

Remember: speed kills, especially in icy conditions. Kill your speed to make your driving safer.

Salt or grit bins

Footways only get limited attention because clearing them is very labour intensive. Only major shopping areas are likely to be treated with salt/grit in the early stages following snowfall. See our page on salt and grit bins for information on how to request one in your area.

Snow clearance

Snow can take much longer to clear than ice. Heavier applications of salt are needed when snow settles on roads more than one inch deep. As with salting, roads will be treated in order of importance, starting with priority routes.

Clearing snow and ice from pavements yourself

Advice on clearing snow and ice safely from gov.uk

Travelling to school

In the event of adverse weather conditions we rely on school transport operators to judge whether they will be able to safely transport children to and from school. If you have queries on whether school transport is running we suggest you contact the operator directly.

You can check our school closures page to find out whether your school is open.

Further information

Please contact the Highway Enquiries Team or Contact the Highway Enquiries Team

  • in Oxford City for minor roads contact: Oxford City Council on 0800 22 76 76
  • for A34 contact: Enterprise Mouchel on 01256 481000
  • for A43 contact: Carillion-WSP on 01536 413700
  • for M40 contact: UK Highways Agency on 0300 123 5000
Last reviewed
03 February 2014
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