Roads Service questioned on gritting

ROADS Service has responded to questions from local MLA Brenda Hale regarding the gritting of the A1 during last month’s cold snap.

Road Service said: “The A1 dual carriageway between Lisburn and Dromore is maintained on behalf of the Department for Regional Development (DRD) by Amey Lagan Roads Ltd (ALR). Roads Service have undertaken a review of the gritting actions by ALR on the A1 at this location following your email and the findings are outlined below.

“The section of A1 between Lisburn and Dromore was gritted in both directions on the evening of Friday 23 November 2012. The A1 was then monitored for any change in conditions on two occasions during the early hours of Saturday morning on 24 November, 2012 but niether occasion reported conditions that would have required the contractor to carry out further gritting in this area at that time.

“Following a call from the PSNI to ALR at approximately 09:00hrs on Saturday morning, the A1 in the vicinity of the incidents was gritted around 10:00hrs. PSNI subsequently informed Roads Service of two collisions on the A1 on the Saturday morning of 24 November 2012.

“Roads Service and our DBFO Contractor, ALR, take its responsibilities to grit roads very seriously, and use the latest technology to help them make informed decisions about salting operations. This includes ice sensors linked to 22 weather stations across Northern Ireland and thermal mapping of all roads on the network. That said, even the most careful and thorough planning, the use of special Met Office forecasts and the latest ice prediction technology, Winter Service is really a battle against the elements and ice-free roads cannot be guaranteed. However, I can provide an assurance that Roads Service and its contractors do, to its best endeavours, make every effort to prevent the formation of ice on the strategic road network.”