THIS IS the dedicated team of snowbusters who have declared war on winter – working round the clock to keep Saddleworth’s highways and byways open.
Oldham council’s grit stocks, systems and services have already met the challenge and repeat of the heavy snowfall experienced over recent years.
They have stockpiled more than adequate supplies of road-gritting salt which will be added to in coming weeks.
Headed by Craig Dale, head of highways operations, their mighty fleet of 10 gritters, which last year gritted a total of 72,412 miles of adopted highway, are at the forefront keeping roads clear.
They are backed by snow ploughs supported by snow blowers and on-the-ground teams.
And the council have promised, as far as reasonably possible, to keep the primary highway network free of ice and snow at all times, ensuring safe journeys for commuters and residents.
Their resources are initially directed to gritting seven priority routes, including the trans-Pennine roads and most of the principal, classified and major bus routes.
Workers have been filling grit bins dotted around the villages so residents can help keep pavements free from ice and snow.
And locals applauded the team’s valiant efforts which were tested to the full a few days ago in what Mr Dale described as ‘the worse conditions for 30 years.’
Cllr Dave Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Planning, said: “We has achieved a great deal of success in keeping the borough moving during winter thanks to our forward planning over recent years.
“This year contingency plans are in place for every foreseeable eventuality, including heavy snowfall.
“We are doing as much as we can with available resources but everyone can help out. For example, helping your neighbour grit their path or simply knocking on their door to see if they are OK.
“I would urge residents to log onto the Council website and listen to road and weather reports so you can keep up to date with the latest news.”
For latest updates and information, visit the council’s website: http://www.oldham.gov.uk/winter. It highlights news on school closures, gritting routes, locations of grit bins, grit sales and how to keep updated.
The council’s First Response service uses its Twitter account @oldhamalert to inform followers of school and road closures or incidents.
These will also be re-tweeted for residents using the council’s account @oldhamcouncil and updates will appear via local media. Schools also have a text messaging system to inform parents if they are closing for the day.
Meanwhile, party-goers braved the weather to get to the Saddleworth Parish Council Civic Ball to help raise more than £1,000 for the Chairman’s Charities.
Around 25 out of 150 guests were beaten by the snowfall but the annual event went ahead, disrupted for a second year running, with a delayed start.
Guests enjoyed a three-course meal by Ravenstone Catering, speeches from Councillors John Hudson and Brian Lord and MP Debbie Abrahams, and a raffle.
But with snow falling steadily throughout the event, many found themselves struggling to get home, with chairman Brian Lord unable to get back to Springhead.