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Salt and science – ‘smart’ gritters hit the road

23 December 2016

​​​​​​Rochdale council gritter.

Our gritters are better prepared than ever to tackle ice, sleet and snow this winter after we became the first council  in Greater Manchester to adopt the latest in automatic gritting technology.

The 'Autologic' system spreads exactly the amount of grit salt required so gritter drivers can concentrate solely the road and not have to focus on the vehicles' spreading settings.

'Autologic' knows the borough's exact road widths and ensures the optimal amount of salt is spread to maximise the treatments, meaning salt isn't wasted. Particularly hazardous spots can be set to automatically get additional salt and even if the driver isn't familiar with the route, the system will ensure gritting is carried out correctly.

Councillor Neil Emmott, our cabinet member for housing and environment, visited our Princess Street depot to see the system in action and says it will make gritting safer, more efficient and make sure our roads are always properly treated:

"This state-of-the-art technology now means our drivers can concentrate on driving, with the gritting process taken care of and really clear on screen route navigation. Dosage, spreading widths and symmetry are taken care of automatically, which means that exactly the right amount of grit is dispensed. We are one of the first authorities in the country to have this system across the entire fleet. In the event of a severe winter when salt stocks could be reduced, this clever technology will be even more important as we will be ensuring our salt is dispensed in the most efficient way." 

The gritting season is now well under way, with us and our partner Balfour Beatty monitoring weather forecasts and road conditions, ready to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week when needed.​

'this clever technology will be even more important as we will be ensuring our salt is dispensed in the most efficient way'

We are in direct contact with the Met Office and get a daily weather forecast specifically designed to give information about road surface temperatures and the likelihood of ice or snow appearing. This is monitored continuously in conjunction with a computerised ice detection system and cameras, then if frost, ice or snow is likely the team hit the road.

Weather updates, information on gritting, salt bin locations, service changes, winter facts and answers to popular questions available at Gritting and winter service. You can also get updates on Twitter​​​​​​, search for​ #RochdaleGrit​.