New vehicle fleet to keep Plymouth’s roads moving this winter

Neal Gibson from SWH Group, Adrian Trim from the Council and Councillor Steve Ricketts with the new road maintenance vehicles.

Five new multi-function vehicles will help to keep Plymouth’s roads moving this winter.

The new trucks have a quick-change body, which means the chassis can be easily fitted with a gritter, tipper or ‘hotbox’ attachment for repairing defects.

As well as planned construction and maintenance they can be used for more reactive works and will be able to respond to winter emergencies within two hours.

The trucks will complement two dedicated gritters that are on 24-hour standby during the winter season (which runs from the beginning of October to the end of March) to keep the city’s primary routes clear.

Each is fitted with a tracking device that monitors the tonnage of salt used on different parts of the network during each trip and shows where extra salt is needed to deal with more hazardous areas, for example where ice has already formed or there is excess water run-off.

Our road maintenance contractor SWH Group monitors the weather closely via a dedicated forecast station and two sensor stations, to ensure roads are pre-treated with salt before temperatures drop and help prevent icy patches from forming.

Plymouth’s salt barn at Prince Rock Depot is stocked up with 1,000 tonnes of salt and the 400 community salt bins around the city have been topped up for people to use locally on public roads and footways when the weather turns colder.

Teams from the Council and SWH Group are ready to respond to various weather-related issues such as fallen trees, blocked gullies and localised flooding – as well as manage traffic flow and help keep road users safe in dark, wet and cold conditions

Councillor Steve Ricketts, Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing Delivery, said: “We’re geared up and ready to keep roads moving as winter weather approaches and our gritting teams are on standby to go out as soon as temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing. These new vehicles will help us to be more flexible and responsive in carrying out repairs on the highway and dealing with all the urgent issues the winter weather throws at us.”

Richard Towl, Managing Director at SWH Group said: “The new gritters will improve the efficiency and response time this winter season, which is vital to keeping Plymouth moving. The trucks will enable us to be even more proactive in our approach to dealing with the various hazards that this weather brings.”

Information about gritting routes and the location of community grit bins can be found on our winter gritting pages. For regular winter service updates follow @plymhighways on Twitter.

Useful info:

  • A full gritting run covers 42 per cent of the city’s road network (380km) and takes about four hours
  • Footpaths are not routinely gritted
  • The 400 grit bins around the city can be used by members of the public to treat public roads or footpaths – salt from these bins should not be stockpiled for use on private property
  • Residents who want to treat pavements and driveways in front of their properties should only need a tablespoon of salt for each square metre. Ordinary table salt and dishwasher salt can also be used
  • Residents should avoid using hot water to clear snow or ice as this freezes and causes even more hazardous conditions
  • You can request winter services such as grit box refilling by calling 01752 668000 or emailing