Training drivers could put back full restoration of gritting services in Cambridgeshire to mid to late January says council chief
- Credit: Archant
Restoration of a full gritting service by Cambridgeshire County Council is not expected to happen until mid to late January.
Graham Hughes, executive director of economy, transport and environment told councillors that it could take that long to recruit the extra drivers needed.
His comments come in a letter to councillors following the U-turn by the council in December to restore a full gritting service and to switch back on street lights that had been turned off through the night.
Mr Hughes said that as soon as the council’s decision was known “officers immediately contacted our supplier Econ” and a speedy return of gritters prior to Christmas was ensured.
“Officers have also been working with our supplier Skanska to get sufficient numbers of trained drivers to operate the gritters when needed,” he said. “This will take a little longer and at present, it is anticipated that the full service as previously provided will be available from mid to late January”
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He said he had agreed with senior committee chairmen that “as drivers and machines become available we will start to reinstate routes and this is likely to be on a district by district basis – the actual order of roll out will depend on the availability of drivers and we will be able to advise further on that.”
In terms of street lighting, he said officers had instructed Balfour Beatty, the council’s supplier, to “reinstate all lights to their previous levels as soon as possible.”
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His letter to councillors, dated December 18, said it was “a simpler operation than gritting and my hope is that this will be resolved by Christmas, but again, we will update you over the course of the next week.”
Councillors have been promised regular updates from Richard Lumley, the head of highways, on progress with both gritting and street lighting.
The U-turn on gritting came on December 13 when councillors voted unanimously to grit 44 per cent of roads, cycleways and paths rather than the reduced 30 per cent that had been agreed in February.
Street lighting was also reinstated through the night after another unanimous decision; in February they were dimmed by up to 60 per cent and switched off between 2am and 6am.