ROAD chiefs have said that Solihull is more than ready to handle a winter as bad, or worse, than last year.
Some 4000 tonnes of salt have been heaped up at the council’s depot, in Moat Lane, with the gritting lorries venturing out for the first time last Tuesday
Supplies have been increased, from 2700 tonnes last year, after the borough was hit by the coldest conditions since 1979.
The ice and snow saw the council’s supply plummet - at one stage they only had enough left for three-days’ gritting.
Councillor David Jamieson, cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “The only thing you can predict about British weather is that it’s unpredictable. It’s incredibly important that we’re well prepared and keep the roads moving, because it can have a devastating impact on the economy. We have to strike a balance, because if we have a mild winter, people will accuse us of wasting lots of money.”
The mountains of salt - equivalent in weight to over 600 African elephants - have been stockpiled over several months. A state-of-the-art weather system is also being called upon, to make sure gritters are ready for sub-zero temperatures.
Coun Jamieson said that the council had responded well to last year’s big freeze, but there were areas for improvement.
“I do think that schools were sometimes shut unnecessarily, it should only be the most extreme conditions when this happens,” he said.
The local authority has a budget of £360,000 for treating the roads this winter, but can also call on contingency funding if needed.