Frequently asked questions

How can I find out exactly what roads are gritted?

We grit all the main roads, including principal bus routes and routes for the emergency services. Priority is given to maintaining safe driving conditions on those most frequently used routes. It would be prohibitively expensive to treat every side street and minor road.

Why can’t we grit all of the roads in Wigan?

When carrying out gritting operations, it is not possible to treat every road in our 1,071km borough; therefore we have to prioritise the strategic road network and the local bus routes and roads which provide access to hospitals, ambulance and fire stations and Industrial estate roads.

Are footpaths gritted?

No footways receive a precautionary salting, however in extreme weather we do treat footways in town centre areas when snow has fallen.

When do you grit?

The decision to grit is made based on the weather forecast data received from the National Weather Centre and the road surface temperature as measured at several local weather stations.

Who grits the M6, M61?

Highways England are responsible for treating the motorways. See their gritting information online (external link).

Can I buy grit from the Council to grit my own private property?

Supplies of salt are not provided to members of the public or local businesses who will need to make their own provision for salting on their own premises. Supplies of salt, salt storage facilities etc. that will help the public through the winter weather periods are readily available at local DIY, general hardware stores as well as a list of alternative suppliers listed on the internet.

Can I take grit from a grit bin near me?

Anyone can use the salt in the bins as long as it is for use on the adopted highway; it is not for use on private driveways or paths. Should a site prove problematic because of regular misuse of salt for the treatment of private driveways, or vandalism of a bin, the Council reserves the right to remove the bin.

My grit bin is empty. How do I get the grit box refilled?

Salt bins will only be replenished during and immediately after periods of adverse weather. If you want to get a refill please view the grit bin page for more information.

Can I have a grit bin located near me?

The criteria for the provision of grit bins along with applications can be made online.

Once the Council receives an application the location will be assessed against the criteria and the enquirer informed.

What happens during severe winter weather?

When it is forecast that snow will be above 40mm, or that rain will be followed by ice for more than 24 hours on the Priority One Network Carriageways, the Council’s Severe Weather Deployment Plan will be deployed.  Dedicated teams whose services have been temporarily suspended because of the bad weather will be deployed across the ten townships of the borough to clear the snow and ice from prioritised footways, such as outside clinics, doctors and day centres.

The council has also ensured it has adequate stores of salt to deal with the most severe winters.

You gritted last night but there didn't appear to be any ice in the morning?

The council's highways team monitor the weather throughout the winter to ensure the roads are gritted whenever a freeze is forecast.

The decision on whether to send out the gritters is taken by experienced staff (who are guided by) the most accurate information available on local weather conditions, as well as data from roadside monitoring equipment around the borough.

The council's current policy is to grit the roads when temperatures are due to fall to zero-degree celsius or below

Sometimes conditions are often marginal, with road temperatures due to drop near zero at some point over the night. On occasions conditions overnight are warmer than predicted and freezing conditions do not occur.

© Wigan Council