Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has confirmed that the Department's winter service is ready to take action if the weather impacts on our roads.
Approximately 300 staff, 130 gritters and 12 specialist snow blowers are available to salt the 7,000 kilometres of the road network on the salting schedule.
Launching the service from the Balloo site in Bangor Minister Mallon said:
"Winter weather can be unpredictable and as the temperature are beginning to drop staff are ready to be deployed as necessary to help keep traffic moving safely and freely on our main road network."
The Department for Infrastructure salts the main through routes which carry more than 1,500 vehicles per day. In exceptional circumstances, roads with difficult topography carrying between 1,000 and 1,500 vehicles daily will also be salted.
The Minister added:
"We currently have 55,000 tonnes of salt in stock in our barns and reserve stocks of around 20,000 tonnes of salt available. I have also made provision for further supplies, at the rate of around 15,000 tonnes per month to be made available if required. Over 5,600 salt bins and 63,000 grit piles are also available for use by the public on a self-help basis on selected routes not included on the salting schedule."
As in previous years, arrangements are in place to enlist the help of private contractors and local farmers to assist in efforts to clear blocked roads.
The Minister continued:
"During wintry weather my staff work around the clock to keep the main roads open but we need to be mindful that conditions can rapidly change. We all have a responsibility to take care on the roads at all times and adjust the way we drive, ride or cycle to ensure it is appropriate for the conditions. The best advice is in the Highway Code: slow down; take extra care even if roads have been salted; be prepared for road conditions changing over short distances and take care if overtaking a gritter."
Regular updates and advice and guidance for road users is available at: Traffcwatchni.
Further advice on driving in adverse weather conditions is also available at: Driving in adverse weather conditions leaflet