Fully electric gritter joins Forth Bridges winter fleet
A state-of-the-art fully electric gritter will join the fleet of vehicles that will help keep Scotland moving this winter.
The “Electra 100% Electric Gritter : SEIV 19 – 350” is thought to be the first vehicle of its kind in the world and will be trialed on the Forth Bridges Unit, undertaking winter patrols on and around the two iconic crossings.
The new vehicle was unveiled at Transport Scotland's winter service launch at Glasgow Science Centre on 6 November. This was just one of a number of plans revealed to improve winter trunk road services including:
- Trials of innovative weather stations and sensors on the M8 to improve on-road testing capabilities.
- Continued lease of specialist vehicles to deal with the most extreme conditions, such as the Hilltip Icestriker with V-plow and Unimog relief vehicle.
- Motorway Access Control units will be installed on the M80 to advise road users of restrictions and closures.
- Live trials of pre-wetted salt treatments on the A835 using reduced salt and utilising a specialised combination spreader.
As well as the fleet of emergency response vehicles, Scotland has a record high of 213 gritters located at over 40 depots across the country. Specialist route-specific snow plans have been produced, in conjunction with road operators and Police Scotland, for the M8, M74, M77 and M80, following the significant snow events of recent years.
Salt barns are full and currently hold almost 550,000 tonnes, which is more salt than was used during the whole of last winter. The gritter tracker is once again up and running, letting people see live movement of gritters on the trunk road network and a trail with an age range for where gritters have previously passed along trunk routes.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:
“Our teams have worked hard throughout the year to ensure we are ready when difficult winter conditions set in. We can’t prevent the weather, but we can make sure we’re as well prepared as possible.
“While last winter was relatively benign, particularly in comparison to the year before, we have still learned lessons from that period. Improvements have been put in place to ensure we are as well-prepared as we can be, and we are trialling some innovative new technology to see if we can make our fleet more environmentally friendly.
“As always, the Traffic Scotland mobile site – my.trafficscotland.org – is an excellent source of up to date information on the trunk road network, the @trafficscotland twitter page is regularly updated and the ever popular gritter tracker is back again this year.
“Transport Scotland officials will continue to work with Police Scotland, the Met Office and other partner organisations to ensure we have a joined up approach to keep Scotland moving this winter.”
Representatives from Police Scotland and the Met Office will be based at the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre in South Queensferry during the winter period.
Road Policing Chief Inspector Darren Faulds said:
“As we approach the winter season, it is a good opportunity for motorists to ensure their vehicles are prepared for the weather conditions that we can expect to see over the next few months.
“Checking your vehicle regularly to ensure that your lights are in good working order and that your tyres have sufficient tread are just some of the steps you can take. It is also important to keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts and relevant social media channels so that you can plan ahead and consider whether you really need to travel or can delay your journey.”
Met Office Government Services Director Andy Kirkman said:
“The Met Office is privileged to be once again working closely with our partners in Transport Scotland to deliver timely weather forecasts and advice to key decision makers. Winter weather such as snow, ice and heavy rain can cause disruption to transport services. Met Office forecasters and advisors work closely with authorities in Scotland helping them plan ahead and make decisions that will keep the public safe and businesses operating, whatever the weather. This work also supports emergency responders in their vital work.
“Daily weather forecast for Scotland are broadcast on our YouTube channel. You can get the most accurate and up to date forecast for your area using our forecast pages and we issue weather warnings up to 7 days in advance, explaining what the weather has in store and the impacts that weather may bring.”