Transport NI (formerly Roads Service) is responsible for the gritting/salting of roads all across Northern Ireland. However, recently Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council have entered into a partnership with Transport NI to assist with the removal of snow and ice in certain priority areas which comprise mainly of town centre footways and pedestrian areas across the Borough.
For further information on gritting routes and schedules contact Transport NI: T. 0300 200 7891 or visit http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/transport-ni
Legally, there is nothing to stop home and business owners from clearing snow and ice from outside their own premises. It is best to clear snow early in the day and use salt or sand - not water as this can re-freeze.
Winter packs comprising of snow shovels, ice grippers, high visibility vests and gloves are available from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for local communities to help clear their areas of snow in a prolonged snow event. The packs are provided free of charge and the name of the individual or group who receives them would be shared with the local community.
If you are interested in a pack T. 028 9446 3113 (Antrim area) or 028 9034 0000 (Newtownabbey area)
Avoid slips and falls in icy conditions
Slips and falls in icy conditions are a common problem. But there are things that you can do to reduce the risk of getting hurt. Follow the guidelines below if you do have to go out in icy conditions.
Tips for avoiding slips and falls
If you have to go out in icy conditions, you should:
- think about the best route to your destination and plan on taking a little extra time to get there;
- avoid rushing or taking shortcuts over areas where snow or ice removal is incomplete;
- select appropriate footwear - flat footwear with rubber soles provides better traction on ice and snow than leather-soled or high-heeled shoes;
- use handrails where you can;
- take small steps to keep your centre of balance under you;
- avoid carrying lots of heavy shopping bags, especially on steps;
- walk slowly and never run on icy ground;
- keep both hands free for balance, rather than in your pockets;
- always be aware of your surroundings - some places will remain icy for longer than others for example places that do not get the sun;
- be particularly careful getting into and out of vehicles - and hold on to the vehicle for support;
- keep paths clear of debris, water, ice and snow;
- be sure to use floor mats when entering a building to remove moisture from the soles of your shoes - this will help protect you, as well as others who follow, from having to walk on wet or slippery surfaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is road grit?
The most common material used to treat road surfaces prior to freezing is rock salt. Rock salt is mined from underground mines. It can also be combined with grit which helps to provide traction and grind up the salt. Rock salt is a brown colour because it is unrefined and contains impurities, so it is often referred to as grit.
How does gritting the road work?
Grit works by lowering the temperature at which water freezes. It relies on the action of vehicle tyres to be spread over the road, so requires traffic to be effective.
When do we grit?
To decide when to grit we receive weather forecasts from our Forecast Provider. However no matter how accurate the forecast, there are situations where the network cannot be gritted prior to icy conditions. Some of the situations are as follows:
When rain is followed by rapidly clearing skies, salting will normally start after the rain has stopped (to avoid the salt being washed away). Sometimes temperatures may fall by as much as 5 degrees per hour and the wet roads may freeze before salting has started or completed.
"Dawn frost" occurs on dry roads, when early morning dew develops, falls on a cold road, and freezes on impact. It is impossible to forecast with any accuracy where and when it will occur.
Winter Service Leaflet (TransportNI)
Winter help and advice (NI Direct)
Don't wait, insulate (NI Water)
Winter wrapped up (Age NI)