After the extensive summer surface dressing programme, North Yorkshire County Council’s Highways teams are getting ready to face the challenges of winter on the county’s 9,000 kilometres (5,600 miles) of roads.

Between October and April, the council works with contractor Ringway to keep roads moving during periods of extreme weather. It uses 86 gritters, 111 farming contractors and a number of road and footway snowblowers.

The annual budget for winter maintenance is £6million and 54 per cent of the roads are gritted on a priority basis. The council has 55,000 tonnes of salt stocks and treated 7,083 routes last year. In addition, there are 8,000 grit heaps and bins.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, the Executive Member for Highways, said: “Dealing with severe winter conditions on such a large network is a complex and expensive operation. But it is a top priority to keep the county on the move and we are well prepared.”

Further details of the council’s gritting operations can be found on its website,

When gritting operations take place, updates will be posted on the council’s Twitter account. Follow @northyorkscc or #nygrit

Meanwhile, the County Council has completed this year’s surface dressing programme during which, in association with its partners Ringway and Eurovia, has surface dressed about 500 miles of road (about 800 kilometres).

Surface dressing offers a quick, efficient and cost-effective way of maintaining skid-resistant and waterproof road surfaces, helping to prevent deterioration. It involves spraying bitumen on to the road surface then covering it with a layer of chippings. The process can extend the life of a road by up to ten years.

The season saw 3.38 million square metres of surface dressing completed by two crews, utilising the latest machinery and vehicles, which improve safety and productivity. The work was finished by the end of August and Cllr Mackenzie said: “It was another mammoth year and a great achievement, particularly as it was the wettest summer in North Yorkshire for a number years, with both crews losing about 30 days each to bad weather through the season.’’

The highlight of the season was when the crews joined forces to carry out nearly 156,000 square metres of dressing over one weekend on the A6055 Local Access Road, which runs next to the A1M.

Following detailed discussions with the contractor, the County Council decided to close the road over a weekend as doing the work under the usual convoy traffic management system would have taken at least five days longer.

Cllr Mackenzie said: “Even despite a delayed start due to rain the team were able to finish the work on time. Overall, this was a fantastic achievement for all involved and a triumph for the integrated planning approach.’’