The county’s 60 gritters and five mini gritters warmed up their engines and took part in a dry run of gritting routes.
The dry run allows drivers old and new to familiarise themselves with the routes, ensure vehicles and their systems are working and pick up any issues.
They will now be on standby for when the temperatures plummet.
KCC grits over 2,500 miles of Kent’s roads and has 53 primary salting routes covering 1,600 miles of road.
If icy conditions or snow is expected, KCC salts about a third of the county’s road network which includes the A and B roads, major strategic, other strategic and locally important roads – these are termed primary routes.
Kent Highways has 21,000 tonnes of salt held in six depots countywide for distribution.
There are over 2,000 salt bins across the county and KCC is backed up by around 117 farmers to help plough 208 rural routes during bad snow.
As part of the launch, KCC is urging the public to be prepared too.
- Make sure you have prepared and your vehicle is ready for winter driving
- Plan ahead and check traffic information and weather reports before driving
- Only drive if absolutely essential when there is heavy snow
- KCC cannot clear pavements, so take extra care when walking. Please use available salt bins to scatter over pavements and roads.
- Make sure you check your tyres as lower treads can cause skidding.
- It may be sunny but always check the weather before travelling.
Kent County Council cabinet member for environment and transport Matthew Balfour, said: “It might seem early to be thinking about winter but freezing conditions can strike early and we’re fully prepared.
“We’re stocked up with 23,000 tonnes of salt, held in a network of depots across the county and our gritters are ready to be deployed should the temperatures plummet.
“Whilst we’re confident we’re prepared, I’d urge everyone to make sure they’re ready for the winter months.
“This includes checking over your car, particularly brakes, topping up anti-freeze and ensuring tyres are in the best condition for maximum safety.
“As ever, check the weather before travelling and make use of our salt bins to improve grip on roads and pavements.”
A common rumour at this time of year is that people are not allowed to salt the pavements – this is untrue.
The government advice can be found at: www.gov.uk/clear-snow-road-path-cycleway
It states when you clear snow and ice:
- Do it early in the day – it’s easier to move fresh, loose snow
- Don’t use water – it might refreeze and turn to black ice
- Use salt if possible – it will melt the ice or snow and stop it from refreezing overnight (but don’t use the salt from salting bins as this is used to keep roads clear)
- You can use ash and sand if you don’t have enough salt – it will provide grip underfoot
- Pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways – using more salt may help
For up to date information about when the team is out, follow @grittingkent on Twitter.
For more information about Kent’s Winter Service, including a map of gritting routes, visit: rwww.kent.gov.uk/winter