Major new guidance covering key aspects of highways winter service is due to be completed this summer by the National Winter Service Research Group (NWSRG), Transport Network can reveal.
This includes new guidance chapters on de-icing, footway and cycle path treatment and road surface treatments and technologies, as well as a new draft chapter on brine usage based on current trials. All of this is due be completed around late June.
The initial trails on brine versus pre-wet treatments were inconclusive, although subsequent trials were said to have been ‘successful’.
The UK Roads Board highlight studies from Europe, which concluded that 'for precautionary salt treatments, especially on dry and moist surfaces that sodium chloride brine only spreading requires less salt and stays longer on the surface'.
Chair of the NWSRG, and principal maintenance engineer at Lincolnshire County Council, David Davies, told Transport Network that there would also be new reports from the NWSRG’s calibration sub-group, and its planning and decision-making sub-group coming up in the summer as well.
He said: ‘We decided that the planning and decision-making sub-group work is becoming quite key now, because of the financial pressures facing local authorities.
‘A lot of authorities are under pressure to cut treatment routes and we are drafting some guidance to help with that. The Roads Board has agreed that the NWSRG will discuss these items so we need to talk about a way forward on this.'
On cycle ways and footpaths, he added: ‘Overall dry materials don’t appear to work very well, so brine and alternative treatments are being investigated.
'There is something of an urban and rural split on this issue. A lot of large urban authorities, such as Glasgow, are very keen on treating the cycle and footways while the rural authorities with long paths and small populations are less keen because of the costs involved.’
Cold Comfort Scotland returns to Airth Castle on 28 April. This is the third year of the conference, where it will once again help drive the debate at the heart of the Scottish winter service sector in partnership with SCOTS and Transport Scotland. To register click here.