Belfast Telegraph

Weather: Roads staff pledge to keep Northern Ireland on move as heavy snow looms

By Staff Reporter

As the 'Beast From The East' weather front closes in on Northern Ireland, officials have revealed that 60,000 tonnes of salt are ready for our roads.

With heavy snow forecast for tomorrow and temperatures expected to plummet to below zero, the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow from Wednesday through to Friday.

As well as transport chaos, widespread school closures could be on the cards. Hundreds of flights across Europe have already been cancelled - and that is likely to happen here too.

Emergency plans are being put in place, and a multi-agency teleconference has already been held to co-ordinate the response from departments, councils and utilities to the icy blast from Russia.

The Department for Infrastructure said its winter safety service is ready and prepared to keep people moving on Northern Ireland's roads following this week's wintry weather warning.

Around 300 staff and 130 gritters will be available to salt main roads to keep traffic moving safely and freely.

Twelve specialist snow blowers are also available to be deployed if required.

John Irvine, director of Network Services at the Department for Infrastructure, said: "Our winter service operation ensures that 7,000 kilometres of the road network are salted to keep traffic moving in wintry conditions.

"With a warning for snow and ice currently in place and some disruption on our roads likely, the department's winter service team is fully prepared."

Farmers and contractors will be deployed as required for snow clearance, he said.

"So far this year 86,000 tonnes of salt has been spread on our roads and a further 60,000 tonnes is stockpiled and ready for use. Five thousand salt bins and 50,000 grit piles are available on routes not included on the salting schedule."

Officials said that 28% of the road network will be salted, directly benefiting around 80% of road users.

In the Republic, some supermarket shelves have already been cleared of bread ahead of the imminent storm.

Tesco Ireland was bringing in extra deliveries overnight as consumers flocked to grocery stores to stock up on food. To ensure that there is enough supply to meet demand, the retailer said it was working overnight to ensure the shelves will be fully stocked today.

Belfast Telegraph

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