Freezing Temperatures Cause Icy Roads

Motorists are being urged to take extreme care as freezing temperatures cause widespread ice on roads across the county.

Gloucestershire County Council has been out over the weekend and overnight gritting roads to try to prevent ice from forming. Gritting teams were out throughout the day yesterday, treating the roads and ploughing to remove snow, with up to 12 inches falling in parts of the county.

To ensure roads were treated again before temperatures dropped overnight, a second team was brought in during early evening and a complete grit run of all A and B roads in the central area took place at 7pm last night. But when temperatures plummet below -7, grit become less effective. Below -10, grit has no effect at all. Last night, the county saw averages temperatures of around -10 with some areas dropping to as low as -17. This has led to widespread ice forming on the roads with particular problems in urban areas of Cheltenham and Gloucester.

The council already has fleets out around the county, but with temperatures likely to fall to below -7 again, ice is likely to remain on the roads. Cllr Stan Waddington, cabinet member for environment, said: “I completely understand people’s frustrations, but when we’re seeing temperatures as low as -17 no amount of gritting will make any difference. “Unfortunately, grit does not work when it’s this cold and there is simply nothing we can do about that. We will continue to do all we can to keep the roads moving, but I am afraid that there are no easy solutions here. I would advise people to make essential journeys only and to take extreme care if they have to go out in the car and check the forecast before leaving.”

Motorists are advised to stay off the roads if possible, but if you do have to drive, do so with extreme caution.

Tips on winter driving can be found online at

Inspector Keith Fagan, Gloucestershire Police, said: “Due to the current adverse weather conditions we are continuing to advise drivers not to make their journey unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must travel then the first thing I would always recommend is that you allow plenty of time to complete your journey.”

  • Trying to reach a destination within a tight time-scale, especially in poor weather conditions, increases stress and the potential for an incident.
  • Drivers are also urged to prepare their vehicle and make sure it is in good condition before setting out.
  • Make sure that you clear all the snow, ice and misting from your windscreen and other windows before starting to drive. 
  • Keep your speed steady and slow and remember that braking distances can more than double on wet or icy road surfaces.

While the council will do all it can to keep roads free of ice, residents are being urged to do their bit too by helping to clear pavements.

Last year people were worried about liability issues after clearing ice and snow themselves. But new guidance from the government on gritting your own driveways and pavements is now available on and people are being advised to ensure they’re prepared before bad weather hits.

Gloucestershire Highways Adverse Weather Bulletin – Sunday 19th Dec

Current Weather Conditions:

All areas: Dry, cloudy with occasional bright spells. Temperatures remaining well below zero.

24hour forecast: This afternoon will be cloudy and dry. It will remain dry overnight with some clear spells for a time. Patchy freezing fog will form as the night progresses. Monday morning will see the freezing fog lifting, but it will remain cloudy. There is a chance that snow may arrive towards midday. RST’s will be mostly well below zero through the forecast period with widespread ice and hoar frost.

2 to 5 day forecast: RST’s will remain mostly well below zero through the outlook period with widespread ice and hoar frost. Monday afternoon will be cloudy with some outbreaks of snow, although there is uncertainty regarding how heavy the snow will be. Tuesday will be cloudy with some further snow likely and this could turn heavy in the late morning/early afternoon with a risk of moderate accumulations. The snow should die away in the evening. Some patchy freezing fog may form later. Wednesday will start mainly dry with patchy freezing fog slowly lifting. There is a small risk that an area of moderate to heavy snow could extend northwards from the near continent for a time in the afternoon and overnight. Thursday will be largely dry and bright and it will remain dry overnight with clear spells for the most part, although freezing fog may form.

Current/Recent Treatments:

  • East:  Key route grit of 15g carried out at 19:00 on 18/12/10. Key route action called this morning due to snow on network from yesterday, a further 15g on network plus ploughing, this action is currently ongoing.
  • West: Key route grit of 15g carried out at 19:00 on 18/12/10. Scouting of northern area carried out this morning, no ploughing required.
  • Central: Key route grit of 15g carried out at 19:00 on 18/12/10. Scouting of northern area carried out this morning, Ploughing commenced on A435 at Bishops Cleeve and B4077 near Toddington at 11:00, this action is ongoing.

Proposed actions during the day/night:

  • East: Additional grit to be placed on strategic parts of key route network to improve friction and grip.
  • West & Central: Key route grit of 10g (15g where required) at 19:00

Network Risks:   

  • East: A429 at Fossbridge closed due to RTC involving a petrol tanker, Police closures of other main routes remain in place, treatment continuing. Reports of vehicles ignoring police closures. Police advise public to stay at home unless journey is essential.
  • West: All treated routes passable. Untreated network very icy, extreme caution required.
  • Central:  All treated routes passable. Untreated network very icy, extreme caution required.

Gloucestershire Highways – Adverse Weather Bulletin

Date:    18/12/2010
Time:    14:30
Issued By:    John Kay

24hour forecast: This afternoon will be dull with some intermittent snow. It will remain mainly cloudy overnight, although the snow will largely die out. A few clear spells may develop later. Tomorrow morning will be mainly dry and bright. RST’s will be mostly well below zero with widespread ice.

2 to 5 day forecast: It will remain cold throughout; RST will remain mostly below zero, with widespread ice and hoar frost. Sunday night will be dry, clear spells before patches of fog will form. Monday will become cloudy, with snow arriving in the south. It will stay cloudy overnight with moderate to heavy snow for much of the time. Tuesday will be cloudy with the snow easing through the morning. More snow may arrive from the south by the end of the day. Wednesday will see any snow die out to leave a largely dry day with sunny intervals, although there is low confidence on the timings and intensity of the snow.

Current/Recent Treatments:

  • East:  Key route patrolled since 04:00 and ploughed/salted as required. Ploughing continuing, but due to heavy snowfall A class routes being prioritised.
  • West: Key route patrolled between 04:00 and 13:00, ploughed/salted as required
  • Central: Key route patrolled since 04:00 and ploughed/salted as required. Ploughing continuing in the northern section of the central area. All clear in the south.

Proposed actions during the day/night:
All Areas: Key route grit of 15g at 19:00.

Network Risks:   

  • East: A429 at Fossbridge closed due to RTC involving a petrol tanker, likely to be closed for 3 days. A40 Charlton Kings closed. A436 Seven Springs to Andoversford. Heavy snow means only essential journeys should be considered. Extreme caution required.
  • West: All routes passable.
  • Central:  All routes passable.

Gloucestershire – Cold snap continues

Further light snow is expected to fall across Gloucestershire once again this evening.
Weather experts say further isolated snow showers are likely to travel from the east and could give a light covering on higher ground this afternoon into this evening. Gloucestershire County Council’s gritters will be out this evening at 7pm treating the roads following any further snow. They will be treating the main roads, which now includes town and city centres to ensure people can still access shops and businesses.

The team will be monitoring the weather overnight to decide if any further action is required.
Temperatures will continue to plummet below freezing for the rest of the week, so drivers will face icy conditions, particularly in the early mornings. Residents are urged to take responsibility for their own driveways and pavements near their homes. Guidance for people on clearing snow and ice is available on and residents are encouraged to check it out.
Safer driving advice is also available on the website.

Jenny Wilks, Gloucestershire Highways Manager, said: “This is the first snow of the year and understandably people are concerned. “So far, the snow hasn’t been particularly heavy and on the whole, roads have remained open and passable with care. “We will be out gritting again tonight to help prevent ice from forming on the main roads. “However, it is inevitable that these freezing temperatures will affect driving conditions so I would encourage people to take extra care on the roads.”

Preparing for colder weather

With snow predicted overnight tonight, Gloucestershire County Council is preparing its team of gritters for action. Gritters will be out treating the roads this afternoon ahead of evening rush hour and again after midnight. The 34-strong army will be going out all across the county as the forecast is below freezing throughout Gloucestershire.

Weather experts are predicting snow to reach Gloucestershire from the East just after midnight.
It is expected to continue until early morning with snowfall between two and five centimeters by midday tomorrow, particularly on higher ground. Throughout the rest of the week, temperatures are not expected to rise much above freezing and further snow is possible on Wednesday.

Driving conditions are likely to be icy in early mornings and late evenings so motorists are advised to take care. Residents are advised to check out guidance on clearing their own driveways and pavements of snow and ice on if they feel it is necessary.

Cllr Stan Waddington, cabinet member for environment, said: “We’ve already seen one of the coldest Novembers on record and it would appear now that winter is really upon us. “While snow is looking likely, at the moment we’re not expecting a huge amount so sending our gritters out just before it’s due to hit the county is the best option.  “As always, we will do our best to keep the roads open but motorists are asked to take care when driving and residents are urged to do their bit to look out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours during this freezing weather.”

•    At the risk of wintry weather we salt 1,000 miles of roads making up our ‘Primary Network’ of vital routes to larger settlements and access to emergency services. This is around a third of our road network.
•    In severe conditions if time and resources are available a ‘Secondary Network’ made up of regular bus routes may also be salted.
•    We don’t salt the A417, A419, A40 or M5 motorway, which is managed by the Highways Agency.
•    We don’t just salt when the weather gets cold – we use expert weather advice and scientific evidence to determine when we should send the gritters out.
•    Each community has volunteers operating snow ploughs or telling us about conditions in outlying villages during very severe weather.

Issued by Lisa Bonnell, Gloucestershire County Council Media Team, 01452 425226

Last chance to talk transport

There’s just one week left for you to have your say on Gloucestershire’s next Local Transport Plan (LTP3).
The public consultation into the Local Transport Plan 3 will end on October 14th and anyone who hasn’t already commented is being urged to submit their views.

At the end of 2009, we asked you what the county’s transport priorities for the next 15 years should be through our talking transport consultation. More than 600 people responded and this has helped us shape our plans for keeping the county moving in future. The resulting draft Local Transport Plan 3 (LTP3) sets out Gloucestershire’s transport strategy for 2011-26 including proposals for all types of transport infrastructure and services including walking, cycling, public transport, road and rail.

The overall vision is to promote a safe and sustainable transport system for Gloucestershire. Now we want to know what you think of the draft LTP3. With budgets under pressure across all county council services, it is important that you tell us what your transport priorities are. Cllr Chas Fellows, cabinet member for environment, said: “Managing transport in the county is one of the council’s most important jobs so it’s important that we get it right. “LTP3 will shape everything we do for the next 15 years and this is your last chance to tell us what’s important to you “We’ve already spoken to many of you at our roadshows and many have filled in our online questionnaire, but we want as many people as possible to take part.
“I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t commented so far to do so before next week’s deadline.”

The plan needs to meet national priorities such as improving access to services, tackling climate change, supporting economic development, improving safety, and improving quality of life but the local priorities are chosen by you.

Visit to give your views on LTP3.
You can also call 01452 425690 to request a paper version of the questionnaire.
The final plan needs to be submitted to the Government in April 2011.