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Forecasting system to blame for gritting delay says council

Thursday, 9th January, 2014 4:43pm

Forecasting system to blame for gritting delay says council

A number of cars went off the road this morning as motorists struggled with the icy conditions. This truck went off the road on an ungritted section of the Finea Mullingar road on Stephen's Day.

Westmeath County Council has defended its road gritting policy, after there were a number of accidents across the county in the first half of today as motorists struggled with the icy conditions and ungritted roads.

In a statement issued to the Westmeath Examiner this evening, the council said that it uses a road monitoring system and this system predicted that “the lowest road surface temperature in Westmeath would be +3 degrees Celsius."
“However, there was an unexpected clearing of cloud and a dropping of temperatures to as low as minus 0.8 degrees celsius during the early morning," the statement read.

"The Council responded to this by deploying its gritters at 7.30am this morning. Unfortunately at that time, ice had formed on road surfaces and slippy surfaces were experienced for a period of time until the gritting routes were fully completed.

“The monitoring and forecasting system is normally reliable and the event experienced last night is unusual. However, it is important that road users always expect that roads may be slippy when frost is present, as it is not possible to achieve full salt treatment of roads at all times.”

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