How does the cold effect our roads?

How does the winter weather affect our roads?

With the recent winter weather, you might have noticed an increased number of potholes is this down to the cold? What else does the winter weather do to our road infrastructure?

  • Freezing and thawing cycles

Repeated freezing and thawing of the road causes the road to become more brittle and therefore more prone to cracking. The salt they use during cold weather actually adds to the damage caused as it affects the surface.

  • Expansion makes cracks worse

Water expands as it freezes to become ice by about 9 of its volume. Remeber your geography lessons about weathering? Water gets into an existing crack, freezes expanding the crack and then thaws allowing more water in.Repeat the cycle a few times and that small crack is now a huge problem.

  • Is that dam same pothole year after year!

To repair a pothole properly, your local authority should use a high-quality patch and they do work when done properly. The problem is to work properly they need time.

Local authorities need to repair a road that is open to traffic, the repair and patch happen very quickly since traffic needs to be stopped or diverted.

Often, the only time that roads can be repaired is for a few hours overnight, when they can be closed. This is a problem because the patch is not allowed to properly settle and bond to the existing road surface. This is why you see damage in the same location year after year, the patch fails.

Sometimes the only way that pothole will completely be removed is when the road is completely relaid and given time to cure.

Snow Fun

Facts about gritting the road

During the recent snowy weather, we thought we’d look into Grit. Here are some facts you might not know about the stuff they use to keep the roads ice-free.

  • Is it grit or salt?

Although it’s commonly called grit, what is used on the roads is normally rock salt, which lowers the freezing point of moisture on the road surface, to stop ice forming. It can also melt existing snow and ice although this can take a while.

  • There’s a science to gritting!

You may think just stick it down but there are actually sensors local authorities use to decide when to send out the gritters. These sensors measure road temperature, and air temperature, rain, dew and salt levels. GPS mapping is used to predict areas to focus gritting on.

Ideally, grit needs to be laid onto an already wet road so it sticks otherwise passing traffic blows it off thanks to the air they displace.

  • Where does it come from?

Surprisingly it’s British. And no it’s not from the sea. It’s actually mined, there are 3 mines across the UK; Cheshire, Teesside or County Antrim (Northen Ireland).

It transported by rail or road to your local authorities depot.

Did you know the vast caverns left over from mining are the ideal place for storing archive documents? With low humidity, no water and no UV light.

  • Once and it’s done?

Surely you grit once and it’s done, right? Unfortunately not, road salt need’s to be constantly applied otherwise the salt gets diluted by the falling snow or rain and this raises the freezing temperature. The constant application of grit keeps the dilution of the salt at an ideal level.

  • Gritting priority.
You know local authorities don’t grit every street, what priority are roads gritted?
As you might have guessed, it’s the critical road network, Motorways and A roads as well as those used by public transport.
Links to hospitals and emergency services are also a priority.
Once the main network is gritted, roads to schools and old people’s homes are next.
  • It has limits

Even salt has its breaking, or rather freezing point, which is around minus 8-10 degrees, depending on the dilution of the solution. In these temperatures, roads will still ice over regardless of whether or not they’ve been gritted.

Did we miss any? let us know!

Snow and logisitics

How snow affects Uk logistics
Snow covered Motorway in North Wales

Last week saw the Uk grind to a halt as heavy snow fell, costing the UK economy an estimated Billion pounds a day!

But what does the haulage industry do? They can’t exactly work from home after all.

I proud to say that most of our hauliers reported that they still made their deliveries, in most cases a lot slower than normal.

And the UK should be thankful that they did because otherwise, the supermarket shortages we saw late Friday would be far more widespread across multiple sectors.

Supermarkets, for example, depend on multiple daily deliveries of fresh produce and perishables. Bread, milk or fruit and vegetables for example. You’d soon notice as we all did last week if one of these deliveries is missed.

Roling that out across other industries, where UK manufacturing relies on Just in time delivery, any delay can mean a costly factory shut down.

Eighty-five percent of everything we buy, eat, wear and use is moved by a UK-registered lorry or trailer, so it’s time we showed the industry the respect it deserves rather than moaning because your favourite biscuits are out of stock.

Without UK logistics our buy it when I want it, where I want it lifestyle just won’t work.

Any Questions?
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