Gritting Woodbridge pavements: many hands..

This last week has been a corker, weatherwise, hasn’t it?

The people who run the gritting lorries have been out day and night trying to keep as much of the thousands of miles of Suffolk roads passable as possible.

It seems to be fashionable amongst many Suffolk car-drivers to criticise  these heroes pretty well without thought or reflection.  Me: I have nothing but the utmost admiration for them. Suffolk’s  service is run via a handful of people working throughout the nights and they do a fantastic job – and all without expectation of any kind of thanks at all.  I rang a highways  officer on Friday at 11am. He sounded a bit dazed (tho very competent). It turned out he’d just got back into the office having been gritting solidly since midnight the night before.

Remember that when you’re getting through the snow in the morning, eh?

As well as remembering to be grateful that our service is so good, we MUST also make sure that any hamfisted attempts at divestment protect the efficiency and effectiveness that we are currently managing in-house. Other counties with privatised gritting services are not managing half so well.

Last yearin mind,  I approached Woodbridge Town Council and offered to fund grit bins and equipment for local volunteers to keep the pavements clear.  And due to this forward planning Woodbridge has been able to tackle the ice and snow relatively efficiently.  Ten grit bins are on site and another four on order: Turban Centre;  St Johns Hill/Castle St;  California/Ipswich Road (where I’m the volunteer); Fitzgerald Green; Mill Lane; Haughgate Close; Colletts Walk; Warren Hill Road; Market Hill; Victoria Road; Peterhouse; Portland Crescent and Farlingaye.

In the last six days I have spent 15 hours gritting around California, around the Seral and down the footpath that runs along the top of Ipswich Road.  I reckon that totalled about 15 miles of roadway walked and gritted.

Do contact the Woodbridge Town Clerk if you want to  volunteer. It helps everyone – and lets face it, it  is so much more productive than moaning that somebody else hasn’t done it.

Volunteers get to use a barrow, a snowshovel and a a hi-viz jacket; they’re covered by SCC insurance and the benefits include a slimmer figure, the warm glow of having helped –  and lots of gratitude.
Not a bad deal, really!

5 thoughts on “Gritting Woodbridge pavements: many hands..”

  1. I was brought up in a family were we cleared the roads of snow and ice. And have continued to grit the roads in the rural village that I live in. It would have helped this year if the “grit” bin had been filled up before the snow and ice hit?

    1. Maggie, I’m not quite sure where you live, but in Woodbridge I personally worked with the Woodbridge Town Council to ensure that all gritbins in Woodbridge were filled before the cold hit. We relied on residents to report back about their nearest bin, because they were the ones who could see if it needed filling. During the big cold spell in December the grit bins were refilled and emptied at least three times because of this!.

      Suffolk County Council grit lorries can – clearly – only fill bins if they are alerted to the need to do so. They respond very quickly if they know they need to! In a village, it is your parish council that should alert them, and concerned residents would be wise to alert the parish council who – after all – is acting on their behalf!

  2. Caroline, can you tell me who I can speak to at the council to replace the lost grit bin at the top of the treacherous sandy lane – where it meets Broom Heath. – Thanks!

    1. The short answer would be Woodbridge Town Council. The long answer is that they have been asking for nominations for strategic new locations over the last 6 months. Each has to have to have a named volunteer with them.Each location needs 0to be cleared for legality and accessibility by the SCC Highways Dept – and funded by me. I’m afraid it may now be too late for this year.
      I cannot remember funding a bin at the Sandy Lane/Broom Heath junction? There is certainly one at the Sandy Lane/Ipswich Road Junction. The other close bin is at the top of California. The grit bins are placed strategically so that they can be used by various different groups of people: eg I personally grit the full length of California, the south end of Old Barrack Road AND the Ipswich Road footpath from Duke of York to John Grose from the gritbin placed at the IpswichRd/California junction.

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