Snow and icy roads over the Christmas holiday made it one of the busiest winter spells for Cheshire East Council’s highways service for some time.
And the council’s household waste collection services have also been hit but crews are working hard to clear the backlog.
While many of us were seeing young children enjoying their first snowfall, gritter drivers were out in force clearing all affected routes in the borough and ensuring roads were safe for travel.
With a chance of more winter weather to follow and temperatures predicted to fall below freezing, the council’s highways service remains ready to respond to any adverse weather conditions.
Over the holiday period, the council’s highways service worked through several nights clearing and gritting main routes across the borough, with the high routes above Macclesfield and Congleton receiving additional treatments.
Staff were called out on nine out of 11 days over the holiday period to grit roads and clear them of snow and ice. There were more than 300 gritting runs, treating 19,000 kms of highway with 2,000 tonnes of salt.
Special attention was directed at Covid testing and vaccination sites, health centres and hospitals. Current salt stocks are sufficient, but residents are urged to make only essential journeys during adverse weather conditions.
Bin collections have also been affected, mainly in the Mow Cop, Scholar Green and Bickerton areas but crews are putting in additional rounds to catch up on the backlog in these and other affected areas. Larger collections of waste due to the Christmas and New Year period have added to the problem.
Councillor Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways and waste, is appealing to householders to help protect council staff by ensuring their bins are hygienically wiped and any Covid-related waste is double-bagged.
She said: “While many of us were still relaxing at home over the Christmas and New Year break, our highways teams and household waste crews were working hard to maintain our customary high level of service and keep our roads safe.
“I want to extend my thanks to our highways team and Ansa crews for their hard work and commitment. But we are told this cold snap could continue and even get worse, so the message is to be prepared for deteriorating weather conditions and stay at home where possible.
“I also want to urge our residents to help protect our staff at this very difficult time by keeping all waste bins as clean as possible to minimise the risk of infection through handling.
“While our staff have protective gloves, we would like our residents to play their part by helping to minimise any risk of infection.”
Owing to the worsening pandemic, the council’s highways service has drawn up contingency plans to deal with any staff shortages, which could impact on its winter service programme. It is ensuring that all its staff work in a safe and socially-distanced environment to minimise any risk of infection.
For further information about household waste collection services during the current cold spell, visit the Cheshire East web site.