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In severe weather conditions, bulletins will be posted on our homepage  directing you to information about any school and road closures.

To keep up to date with conditions, the Met Office gives general winter weather information.

Portsmouth normally escapes severe snow falls because of the mild coastal climate. Ice is usually the major winter problem, so stay alert on roads, be aware and above all be safe.

For road salting, we use rock salt, which works by lowering the temperature at which water freezes. The Colas depot can store 850 tonnes of rock salt.

 

Spreading salt on roads before or after snow falls does not prevent snow lying. It is traffic moving over the road, which crushes and mixes the snow and salt together, that melts the snow.  Sometimes we put salt on roads before the temperature falls below freezing to prevent frost.

 

We are aware that using salt can damage plants, trees and grass verges, cause water pollution and even change the properties of the soil. Colas take this into consideration when weather emergencies require salting the roads. As an alternative, we use grit, clear snow/ice manually or with the use of snow ploughs.

It’s the job of Colas and the council to keep roads clear. Precautionary salting is carried out when we receive notification of icy conditions from the Met Office and local weather stations. Roads are treated mostly at night or in the early hours of the morning to avoid traffic. We would not advise clearing the roads yourself.

 

Colas concentrate on the roads agreed with the council to be priorities, such as the vital transport routes in and out of the city, major bus routes, and major routes to hospitals, schools, shopping centres and other public services. These are marked as priority 1 or priority 2 roads on the map available below.

 

In the case of heavy snowfall, once priority roads have been cleared, Colas will try to manually or mechanically clear other roads.

 

The M27 and the A27 trunk road are maintained by the Government's Highways England (HE). Portsmouth City Council and HE share responsibility for the M275.

There are some situations in which roads aren't salted, including:

  • When it's raining - to avoid salt being washed away. This means that wet roads can sometimes freeze before we are able to salt them
  • During rush hour traffic - the salt is worn away before it can take effect, and the gritters are unable to progress in the congestion
  • If the temperature drops below -10c (14f), when salting is not so effective
  • On roads which aren't often used - if there aren’t any passing vehicle tyres to mix the salt and snow together the snow will not melt
  • If the gritter has difficulty driving down one of Portsmouth's many narrow roads due to parked cars

Anyone can clear snow and ice from their property, pavements outside their home or from public spaces - there is no law against it. Follow the Met Office's snow code to clear snow and ice safely.

 

There are 80 salt bins around the city, and residents can use the salt on pavements in their local area. Use salt wisely, and remember that it is not for use on private property.

 

Salting pavements works the same way as salting roads. To be effective, people need to walk on the area and mix the salt with the snow.

 

Colas concentrate on salting pavements near major shopping areas, hospitals, transport hubs, schools and other public areas. Other pavements will not be salted.

Try not to abandon your car, as it could get in the way of the salting or snow-clearing vehicles. We do try to get owners to move their cars out of the way, but abandoned or parked cars may be removed, or moved to another part of the road if they are obstructing snow-clearance.

 

If you believe your car has been moved, contact the City Helpdesk during office hours. Outside of office hours you can call the recovery contractors Boarhunt on 0870 8728040.

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