Aberdeenshire Council’s roads service has decided to give extra attention to three of its highest level rural routes when carrying out winter maintenance with all of them in Deeside.
After reviewing the effectiveness of the Winter Plan, the A939 Ballater – Corgarff, B976 Crathie – Gairnshiel and the B974 Banchory – Cairn O’Mount – Fettercairn roads will now receive extra treatment.
A third of Aberdeenshire’s roads receive the highest level of winter treatment, and under current policy requirements the remaining roads not included in the Primary Route Network may receive reactive treatment, if forecasts indicate ice conditions might be expected to last more than 48 hours.
The intention is that resources are not wasted treating minor roads which could be expected to thaw naturally in rising temperatures.
However, it became apparent that some high level roads react more slowly to a rise in air temperature and don’t thaw as quickly due to their topography and climate.
In recognition of their unique individual characteristics, the three routes will get extra gritting attention, to achieve the intended level of service.
In addition, the roads service regularly reviews and assesses the Primary Route Network and has decided to include the B972 Pass of Ballater and the B9119 Milton of Logie to Cambus O’May roads.
Chairman of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC), David Aitchison, said: “We introduced minor amendments to the winter service to try to avoid the situation where we are gritting roads and footways when a natural thaw is imminent.
“These latest changes are to ensure our roads crews are delivering the council’s winter policy – to reduce as far as possible the effects of adverse weather on the safe movement of people and vehicles.
“We continually monitor and review the service to ensure it is as good as it can be with the budget available and this is proving to be effective.”
Vice-chairman, Graeme Clark, said: “We are the second largest roads authority in Scotland and as such we have to manage expectations in terms of what’s possible within our available budget, I am pleased to see the roads service has reviewed its plans for these high level routes and will be introducing changes to ensure the agreed level of service is delivered.
“Planned and proactive treatment is at the heart of winter maintenance in Aberdeenshire and this remains the case.”
Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Geva Blackett said: “I am extremely glad that my frequent representations to the Roads Department have been listened to and we are going to see some of the highest roads in Scotland receiving priority treatment.
“However people should understand that winter roads are not the same as summer roads and should ensure they have winter tyres fitted and drive according to conditions”