Friday, 8 December 2017

Met Office Amber warning for snow and ice… But we’re ready!

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for snow and ice across parts of the south east this weekend, with sub-zero temperatures expected overnight. As ever, Transport for Buckinghamshire is ready for the cold weather and prepared to keep the roads safe. Here’s the five things you need to know about our winter service:


1. Winter service lasts from October to March every year. 

By mid-October every year TfB is ready for winter, and the daily monitoring of road surface temperatures begins. A dedicated winter team receives detailed weather forecast analysis every day, which contains information on air temperature, road surface temperature (which can often be a few degrees lower than air temperature) likelihood of snow and ice, humidity and wind speed. Using the data they are given, the team decides whether or not to salt the roads, and at what time. Winter service generally winds up around late March when spring arrives and temperatures get milder.

2. We name our gritters! 

TfB has a fleet of 24 gritters, based at four depots countywide, and each of the big yellow machines has a name on their front bonnet. This year we replaced 12 of the fleet, which meant new names needed to be chosen for them. We opened up the decision making process to the public and a judging panel chose the best ones:

Usain Salt and Snow Farah (both based in High Wycombe), Grit ‘n’ Bear It, Walter the Salter, and Grit Expectations (based at Amersham) Gritty Bang Bang (based in Gawcott) and Ice Ice Baby, Salt Disney, Rocky Horror, Snowbot, The Gritter Good, and True Grit (all based in Aylesbury). Thanks to all the members of the public who helped us pick these brilliant names!

New gritters, Usain Salt and Snow Farah at the High Wycombe TfB Depot





You can see the daily gritting decision by following us on Twitter (@TfBAlerts) or by checking our winter page, where you can also track the gritters on an interactive map. 

3. We salt 44% of Buckinghamshire roads

Our primary salting routes cover the most important roads to keep everyone moving, covering 1405km of the county's A and B road network – that’s about 44% of the total network, and is more than many local authorities grit. In times of very severe weather salting will be carried out on secondary routes as well. These include classified roads which are not included in the primary routes, unclassified roads serving communities of 200 dwellings or more and unclassified roads with a gradient of 10% or less. We may also salt cycle ways and footways in main shopping areas and other key pedestrian and cycle facilities. In general, the secondary salting network will be treated after the formation of ice or fall of snow – fortunately we have not had a severe winter in Buckinghamshire in several years. You can view the gritting route map on our winter page. 

An overview of the Buckinghamshire precautionary gritting routes

4. We have 50 gritter drivers on call every day for six months

 From October to March TfB has 50 specially trained gritter drivers on call 24/7 – that includes Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. That’s a Christmas of staying off the booze and potentially abandoning carving the turkey to get out on the roads!
There are roughly two drivers per gritter who rotate gritting duties on an A-B basis; this ensures no driver does two runs in one night, should we need to salt twice in 24 hours. Generally the drivers get given between 4 – 6 hours’ notice if they will need to go out, but they need to be available at 2 hours’ notice should the forecast change suddenly, or another driver become unwell. What’s more, gritting generally takes place in the evening and throughout the night, so the drivers are still carrying out their day jobs in highway maintenance. 

5. We store thousands of tonnes of salt across the county 

Rock salt is used to grit roads - it prevents frost and ice forming and helps to melt ice. TfB has four rock salt barns based across Buckinghamshire in High Wycombe, Amersham, Aylesbury and Buckingham, as well as an emergency reserve of 3000 tonnes of salt near south Bucks, just in case. Each barn holds around 1000 tonnes of salt at a time and is topped up throughout the winter - each full salt run of the county uses up approximately 85 tonnes! Salt requires traffic movement and moisture in the atmosphere to turn it into a de-icing solution. In order for it to work effectively, vehicles need to drive over the salt to grind it into smaller particles and spread it across the road. 


A gritter offloading its leftover salt at the end of a gritting run 


The County Council has a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know this winter - visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/readyforwinter. 

Friday, 1 September 2017

Chesham residents – please keep clear for gully cleaning in Waterside next week!

From Tuesday 5th to Wednesday 6th September, Transport for Buckinghamshire will be cleaning every gully and pipe along a 1.3 mile stretch in Waterside, Chesham. Drivers are asked to avoid parking along the stretch from the roundabout at Red Lion Street down to Mill Close so the gullies are accessible for the cleaning machinery. 



The road will remain open but there will be some traffic management in place to allow the cleaning crew to carry out the work safely, so there may be some delays in the area between 9am and 3.30pm on both days. Around 40 gullies will be cleaned in total – this is essential maintenance ahead of the winter as it will reduce the risk of localised flooding, decreasing the chance of ice and limiting damage to the road surface thus prolonging its life. 

TfB thanks residents and businesses for their cooperation and patience while this work is carried out. 


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Overnight investigative work on Marlow Obelisk planned for next week

Investigative works will be carried out on the Marlow obelisk overnight next Wednesday, 23 August, ahead of the three week conservation work expected to start later this year.

Wednesday night’s works, which will begin at 9pm and continue until the early hours of the Thursday morning, will help to establish the scale and specific requirements of the upcoming conservation efforts.
The outcome of Wednesday night’s works will help to determine when the full conservation project can go ahead, as it will make clear precisely what work is needed and how the traffic management, such as the diversion and traffic light arrangement, will work.

Transport for Buckinghamshire hope to start the work this October and anticipate it will take three weeks, but will know more after the investigation is complete. Ideally the works period will include October half term to take advantage of the quieter than usual traffic, but residents and local businesses can rest assured that the works will not be scheduled to conflict with the busy Christmas shopping season.
The historic landmark, which sits at the centre of the roundabout at the top of the High Street, was erected in 1822 as a waypoint marker for travelling coaches. It has deteriorated in recent years and whole sections of stone lettering have broken away. 

Marlow's mayor Jocelyn Towns with the obelisk

The renovation works will be carried out by a specialist contractor who will clean and repair the monolith and re-engrave the damaged lettering using photographs and records to ensure the restoration is faithful to the original appearance of the Grade II listed monument.

“We’re delighted that the obelisk will be repaired, and hopefully before the busiest time of the year – Christmas!” Jocelyn Towns, Marlow’s mayor, said.

“Transport for Buckinghamshire has said they will do their utmost to complete the works in the shortest possible time and with the least possible disruption to the local area. There will be short delays due to the traffic lights, so we hope people will prepare in advance for their journeys during the period.”

The diversion and traffic lights will be in place 24 hours a day for the duration of the works, even though at times there may be no contractors on site. County Councillor Paul Irwin, who is Deputy Cabinet Member for Transportation, explained the need for the 24/7 diversion:

“I hope that residents will bear with the work this autumn, and understand that the 24 hour closure is necessary even though contractors will not always be on site, as they need to allow time for materials to cure before continuing – they will, however, be encouraged to work weekends to speed the process along.
"There’s no denying that the conservation work will cause some traffic issues, but the people of Marlow have campaigned to see the obelisk restored to its former glory for a long time and I think the end product will be worth the disruption.”

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Summer spruce for Aylesbury High Street

Ahead of the summer of fun planned for Aylesbury, residents may have noticed that the high street underwent a spruce up last month. Tree surgeons arrived early on Monday 24th July to clear away some dead trees and trim dead wood from others, near to WH Smith and McDonalds. Because the location of some of the trees was too dry for them to get the water needed to survive, they will be replaced with decorative planters provided by the Town Council.

County councillor Mark Shaw, cabinet member for transportation, welcomed the freshening up to the High Street, saying:


‘It’s good to see that this work has been taken care of quickly and safely. It’s a shame to lose trees from the high street but they were unable to thrive there, and we can’t have dead trees and dead wood in a busy public spot, it’s a hazard. Thanks very much to the team who are doing the work, they have had plenty of guys on site ready to direct pedestrians and ensure the work area is safe. Thankfully the rain stayed away and so it was all finished and cleared up by 3pm. Roll on the summer holidays and all the exciting events coming up for Aylesbury!’

Transport for Buckinghamshire thanks businesses, shoppers, and residents for their patience with the noise and disruption while we carried out these works safely and quickly. 





Monday, 24 July 2017

Overnight roadworks to bring improvements to key Aylesbury routes

Two major roadworks schemes begin this week to improve the roads in Aylesbury. For the next two weeks works will take place under road closures at night, to minimise traffic disruption, on the A41 Aston Clinton Road and the A413 Buckingham Road. While the dual works will mean there will be two diversions in place at the same time causing some delays for drivers, the diversions do not overlap at all and have been scheduled to start after 7pm to avoid peak travelling hours.


The A41 Aston Clinton Road works are taking place on a small stretch outside the Holiday Inn, as work finishes on the new junction there. The road will be shut from 7.30pm to 6am, Monday to Friday only, until 4th August with an additional overnight closure planned for 7th August. The work will include highway improvement, a signalised junction, new traffic islands, the planning and re-surfacing of a 500 metre stretch of the A41, and 170 metres from the junction with New Road going south. There will also be some white lining and loop cutting for the signalised junction. There will be signed diversion routes in place, with HGVs from the Tring direction diverted through Wendover, and cars through Weston Turville.

The A413 Buckingham Road carriageway resurfacing will commence tomorrow night, 25th July, on an area stretching from the traffic lights by the Horse and Jockey pub up to just beyond Prince Rupert Drive. The works should take ten nights to complete, not including any weekend working, but are weather dependant. Access to Watermead and Oliffe Way will be maintained however will be subject to short delays at times to ensure the safety of the public and crews on site. Footway access will be maintained at all times. The diversion route is via A4157 Weedon Road, A41 Bicester Road, and Martin Dalby Way. These works have been delayed by a day due to the overrunning Winslow High Street works which were disrupted by last week’s heavy rain.

County councillor Mark Shaw, cabinet member for transportation, welcomes the road improvements, saying:

“These works are much needed for Aylesbury’s busy road network – some disruption is inevitable but the work has been scheduled to get all that disruption over and done with in a period of just two weeks, rather than run the two schemes back to back and face at least four weeks of diversions. We thank residents and drivers for their patience and forbearance with the noise and minor delays, and hope that once the work is done and the roads are looking fabulous that it will have been worth it!”



For more information on roadworks in Aylesbury and surrounding areas, visit the Transport for Buckinghamshire website: buckscc.gov.uk/services/transport-and-roads/

Friday, 26 May 2017

Bank Holiday Rain Warnings – of course!


























It wouldn’t be a Bank Holiday weekend without heavy rain and, as such, ours is scheduled for late Sunday, early Monday this weekend (28th – 29th May) with a yellow weather warning issued by the Met Office.

Transport for Buckinghamshire has additional teams on standby to deal with any road flooding which may occur, and will use gully emptiers where necessary depending on risk and the severity of any flooding. 

What to do if you see a flooded road:
  • CALL US on either 01296 382416 or 01296 486630 (out of hours) to give us the location of the flood
  • Please don’t use social media to let us know. We monitor Twitter and Facebook where we can, but it is not a suitable place to report emergencies, such as flooded roads

Drive safely
If you have to make a journey in heavy rain you should adjust your driving to the conditions of the road. Think Slow, Stop, See when driving in the rain:
  • SLOW: slow down through heavy rain or on wet roads
  • STOP: stopping distances will be affected by wet roads. Keep your speed low, and leave more space between you and the car in front.
  • SEE: use dipped headlights even during daylight to ensure you can see and be seen

For more detailed information about driving in the rain, check out the RAC’s tips: https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/winter-driving/driving-in-heavy-rain/

Follow us on Twitter @TfBAlerts for updates 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Bikers – learn the skills that may save your life this summer

Whether you ride a superbike, classic, or tourer; if you live or ride in Buckinghamshire you can take part in a 2017 Be a Better Biker assessment day.  Delivered by Thames Vale Advanced Motorcyclists (TVAM) and supported by Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) and Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue, the assessments include workshops and an on-road assessment with a TVAM observer. There are currently two assessment day courses scheduled at Marlow Fire Station, on June 17th and July 22nd.

The assessment days are part of an ongoing effort to improve biker safety in Buckinghamshire – in the last three years, 154 bikers have been killed or seriously injured on Buckinghamshire’s roads. Since launching in 2004, the Be a Better Biker initiative has offered hundreds of local bikers advanced training on skills such as manoeuvring, overtaking and cornering techniques.


There are only 12 places available on each assessment day, so to avoid disappointment contact TfB today by calling 01296 382338 or emailing roadsafety@buckscc.gov.uk. Assessments cost £20 per person.