Winter Maintenance - Gritting (rock salt) and salt bins
The Council's highways team are in direct contact with a European weather forecasting centre and receive daily weather forecasts so they can decide when the gritters need to go out across the MK road network. The weather forecast is used along with specialist computerised ice detection equipment which can check the current road temperature as this can be much lower than air temperatures.
If frost, ice or snow is forecast then one of the following procedures are put into action.
- Precautionary salting/gritting of main roads before the ice forms.
- Salting icy and frosty minor roads.
- Snow ploughing and footway clearing.
- Salting and snow ploughing routes, salt bin locations.- Mapping Portal.
Click on the links below for information on how we grit our roads:
- Priority 1 Routes
- Priority 2 Routes
- Priority 3 Routes
- Snow Ploughing Routes
- M1 Motorway and A5 Trunk Road
- Priority Redways
- Priority Footways
- Car Parks
- Salt Bins
Priority routes are typically bus routes and our primary roads e.g. grid roads and link roads in the rural area.These routes are salted every time frost, snow or ice is forecasted. We use 9 lorries each time we salt the priority 1 routes and it takes us 3 hours to complete. The salting is normally carried out between 7pm and 10pm or between 4am and 7am. Priority 1 Salting Routes Map (PDF, 1.1MB)
Secondary salting routes are important distribution roads that may lead to schools, shopping centres, industrial and other key areas. Priority 2 salting routes are salted when there is more extreme weather. The salting is normally carried out during the daylight hours and only when the priority 1 routes are clear. Priority 2 Salting Routes Map (PDF, 740KB)
Generally this network of roads, being the remainder of the network not included in either the Priority 1 or 2 networks, shall not be considered for treatment unless the Priority 1 and 2 networks are passable and clear of obstruction and only during extended periods of lying snow where resources are available.
Considered to be the highest priority roads to be ploughed and/or salted in heavy snow conditions. As and when these are considered to be clear the rest of the grid road network will be done as well as main routes to villages, followed by any remaining roads on the Priority 1 network. Snow ploughing routes - Mapping Portal select the Snow ploughing route option under winter maintenance.
The M1 and A5 are salted by the Highways Agency. For information call 08700 660 115 or visit the Highways Agency website . Some sections of Milton Keynes roads are treated on a reciprocal basis by neighbouring authorities, see the mapping portal for details.
During snow and/or prolonged periods of frost/ice, treatment of priority redways will be carried out. Priority Redways (PDF 631kb) (PDF, 617KB)
Footways - Footways subject to normal overnight frosty conditions will not be routinely treated. However, during snow and/or prolonged periods of frost/ice, treatment of City Centre and High street Category 1 footways will be undertaken when resources become available from the carriageway Priority 1 and 2 networks. (Town centres are treated by our cleansing contractor as part of our Priority 1 footways). City Centre Category 1 Footways (PDF 92kb) (PDF, 90KB)
The City Centre car parks and service roads are treated as and when salting of Priority 1 routes is carried out. Off street car parks will be treated in conjunction with the Priority 2 network in periods of prolonged adverse weather and then only when resources are not required on the Priority 1 network.
We are currently reviewing our salt bin provision in Milton Keynes. No new salt bins will be provided until the review is completed.
We have over 400 salt bins located at various points across the Milton Keynes area to help all road users, including pedestrians. see mapping portal, salt bin locations - roads list (PDF, 340KB) or salt bin location map. (PDF, 531KB) You may use the salt to prevent ice and snow forming on small areas of the road or pathways. Be sparing with any application of salt. When correctly applied, 5kg is sufficient to prevent ice forming on 100m of road.
Salt is not provided for use on private driveways or private pathways.
Council salt bins are either yellow or grey. Salt bins of another colour are either private, Parish or Town Council owned.
Highway services staff are on call 24 hrs a day to deal with winter weather duties:
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.00am – 5.15pm, please call 01908 252353
- Wednesday 10:00am – 5:15pm, please Call 01908 252353
- Monday to Friday 5.15pm – 9.00am Please Call 01908 226699
- Weekends Please Call 01908 226699
- Tips, Advice and the Law on Clearing Snow and Ice Yourself (PDF 60k) (PDF, 58KB)
- Winter Travel Advice (PDF 1293kb) (PDF, 1.2MB)
- Metoffice Get ready for winter – Travel advice
Last Updated: 9 January 2020