The priorities with which The Highland Council will grit roads on the Isles of Skye and Raasay this winter have been approved by Councillors yesterday (Monday 11 September 2017).

The Skye and Raasay Committee members have approved a winter maintenance plan for the area which includes priority road lists and maps showing the priority gritting routes.

The Committee discussed the priorities of gritting a network of 170km primary routes (27%), 102km secondary routes (16%) and 346km other routes (57%) across the Eilean a’ Cheò ward.  Winter road maintenance for trunk roads in the Highlands is carried out by BEAR Scotland.  

Primary routes are treated first, followed by secondary routes and crews will only move on to treat other roads when the primary and secondary routes are all completed.

The routes have been set within the context of the Council’s current Winter Maintenance Policy which is in place to ensure a consistent level of service is applied across all areas of the Highlands.  Each year local areas put in place their Winter Maintenance Plan to cover the operational details in order to deliver a service locally within existing budget and resources.

Chair of the Area Committee, Councillor John Gordon said: “There is always a balance to be struck in the gritting priorities for our roads based on the amount of resources available and the need to reduce risk to vehicles and pedestrians.

“On Skye and Raasay we have access to real time data from 6 icelert sites and these sensors provide information on the road surface temperature, surface condition and the presence of salt. This information allows our staff to react to local conditions and throughout the coming winter we will monitor the agreed plan to make sure we cover any changes in weather using our existing resources to best effect.”

In the area there are 19 staff delivering winter maintenance supported by Amenity, Streets and Waste Staff. A standby system is in place to ensure sufficient drivers are available to cover weekends. Four gritters and 2 footpath tractors are deployed to spread on average 4,000 tonnes of salt each year.

Details of the Skye and Raasay Area priority routes and winter services information can be viewed by visiting the council’s website here.