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Winter Service

We undertake Winter Service Operations from 1 November to 31 March each Winter, but we may extend this into April if necessary. Our Winter Service resource consists of 21 gritters and 4 tow behind units and last winter we used 5,500 tonnes of salt on treating our roads, footways and filling salt bins.

We prioritise our gritting response based on the usage and volume of traffic of each road as well as the layout of the road itself. These priorities are categorised into 1’s, 2’s and 3’s. Our morning target for having these routes complete are 08:00 for Priority 1’s and 10:00 for Priority 2’s. Our evening targets are 16:00 for Priority 1’s and 18:00 for Priority 2’s. Priority 3’s are not routinely treated unless snow conditions are preventing access. For more information on these priorities please refer to the Winter Service Policy and Winter Service Plan attached to this page.

The Winter Service Plan is available from the 'Related Downloads' section on this page. Other PDFs listed show the routes which are treated as part of the plan.

Read our gritter FAQs here

To find the priority of each road and the location of your nearest salt bin please refer to the map below.

  • Priority 1 – On receipt of frost, ice or snow warning
  • Priority 2 – Only when adverse conditions become apparent and when all Priority 1 routes have been completed
  • Priority 2S – Same as Priority 2 but only on School days
  • Priority 3 – No salting or gritting to be undertaken. Snow clearance only

Enter a road name or place to find a specific area.  If you prefer you can also open this map full screen.

A few stats on our winter service:

  • 73% (721km) of our road network is currently treated as Priority 1 and 2 Routes.
  • In 2022 – 2023 there were 71 Priority 1 responses and 39 Priority 2 responses.
  • It cost just over £1.2million to undertake the responses mentioned above.
  • 81 roads (98.67km) are upgraded from Priority 3’s to Priority 2’s to ensure that they are treated prior to School Bus movements. This is updated annually in consultation with the Education Department.
  • School and care facility car parks are included in the treatment routes.
  • There are 2 weather stations which along with thermal mapping of our entire road network enables us to predict when temperatures are due to fall below freezing and therefore aid us in deciding when and where to treat. The stations are situated on the A960 next to the Airport and on the A967 at the Mill of Rango in Sandwick.
  • There are 416 Salt bins, most of which on Priority 3 routes.
  • There are 2 seasonal ice warning signs on the network which are displayed from 1 November to 31 March. At Rashieburn, A961, Holm and at Bridgend, Old Finstown Road, Firth.

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