With the dark nights of winter a distant memory, you may be surprised to know that Transport for Buckinghamshire's winter season runs right up until the 14th April. Having just finished with the winter duties, here's a brief summary of the season from TfB.
We may not have encountered any prolonged severe weather events over the winter, but TfB still worked hard to keep the roads safe.
Previous winters have seen flooding and snow accumulations, however this season saw 196 hours of sunshine - the most UK winter sunshine hours since records began, back in 1929.
Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) monitors road temperatures from mid October until mid April and their gritter drivers are on call throughout. Five forecasts each day helped decision makers with the daily judgement call. Air temperatures, road temperatures, humidity and dew point were all monitored from stations around the county and the resultant decision saw gritter drivers being sent out on their routes across the county, or stood down if road temperatures were not forecast to drop below zero.
Each route used an average of 85 tonnes of salt, so decisions were not taken lightly. For this reason, separate decisions were made for the north and south of the county. 48 gritting runs were carried out in the north of the county, and 40 in the south. A total of 5500 tonnes of salt has been used through winter and 63,250 kilometres of road covered over the season.
Winter operations are a year round task, and managers are now making plans for the next season! Ordering salt and checking gritting routes as well as ensuring staff receive refresher training and updating plans will all be undertaken over the summer, ready for the start of the next season in October.