Grit Britain: sand spreaders to stop UK roads melting in heatwave

Grit-spreading machines to be used on melting roads to 'soak up excess bitumen'

Traffic makes its way along the M3 motorway near Winchester in Hampshire. PA
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A British council is preparing to use "gritters", or machines that spread grit, to help stop roads melting as temperatures soar.

Hampshire County Council plans to use the machines to spread light dustings of sand that act “like a sponge to soak up excess bitumen".

Gritters are normally used to spread salt during the winter to stop ice forming on roads.

The areas most likely to be visited by the vehicles this week are those with older road surfaces, in rural locations and those facing south.

Residents are being urged to report any road problems on the council’s website.

Motorists who find tar stuck to their tyres are advised to wash it off with warm, soapy water.

An amber weather warning for extreme heat has been issued across much of the UK, including Hampshire.

“Snow and ice are the last thing on most people’s minds at the moment and I’m sure there’s been a lot of head-scratching if they’ve seen our gritters out on the roads in the height of summer," a spokesman for the Local Government Association said.

“However, our gritting teams are once again playing a vital role in keeping the country’s roads safe for motorists.

“This proactive work helps to reduce the potential damage high temperatures can inflict on our roads, so keeping them safe and limiting disruption.

“Councils will continue to monitor road temperatures and once the weather cools will begin carrying out repairs if needed.”

Updated: July 12, 2022, 12:52 AM