Gritting continues but salt stocks running out

Having replenished its salt stocks through deliveries on Monday and Wednesday this week, Westmeath County Council says it is continuing to apply grit to some 462 kilometres of major roads in the county as the prolonged spell of freezing weather continues.

However, a spokesperson for the council confirmed yesterday that the council continues to experience problems in replenishing stocks, and has enough to last only until tomorrow [Saturday].

Should current conditions continue, a further 400 tonnes of salt will be required in order for gritting to continue up to next Tuesday [January 12], and more again may be required beyond that date.

“The council is experiencing ongoing problems in the replenishment of salt stocks, given the demand nationally and in Britain. However, the council has received a number of salt deliveries in recent days and now has sufficient stocks to last until Saturday January 9,” said the council yesterday.

“However, taking the current weather forecast into account, a further 400 tonnes of salt is required to allow for continued gritting up to Tuesday January 12 and more may be required beyond that date.”

Earlier this week, the council admitted it had encountered salt shortages over the Christmas and new year period, citing increased demand nationally and in the United Kingdom.

The roads currently being gritted in Westmeath include all national roads and some regional roads, as well as the main roads in and around Athlone and Mullingar. The 462km of roads amount to one fifth of all the county’s roadways.

A map indicating the routes that are being treated across the county is available to view at www.westmeathcoco.ie, and the map should be consulted prior to undertaking any journey.

The council is continuing to warn the public that caution must be exercised by drivers and pedestrians at all times, as there is no guarantee that any road or footpath will be free of ice, even if it has been treated.

in addition, drivers should avoid using the overtaking lane on motorways and dual carriageways as the gritting is concentrated on the travelling (left ) lane.

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