Our gritting crew are now on 24 hour call from mid-November until the end of March - ready to go out whenever we need them, night or day.
Every time the gritters go out, they cover around 260 miles of Sandwell's roads, each time putting down around 55 tonnes of salt. We have one priority route, which means all of the roads on this route (nearly half of the whole road network in Sandwell) are gritted every time the gritters go out.
Last winter, (2020/21) more than 3,000 tonnes of grit was used on Sandwell's roads. While most of the country was on lockdown due to Covid-19 restrictions, to ensure our roads remained safe and open for key workers and essential travel our gritters went out 61 times covering a distance from Sandwell to Bali and back again.
We've named our gritting trucks with the help of the public and council staff and they all have names unique to Sandwell. Some of them have even been named after famous faces.
So if you're out and about once temperatures fall in winter, look out for the trucks and give them a wave. Can you spot every single one? You're also welcome to take photos of them - as long as it's safe and you're not driving at the time.
The trucks are called:
- Ice One, Cyrille
- Dame Julie Salters
- The Greatest Snow Van
- Spread Zeppelin
- Frozie Lawrence
- Frosty the Snow Van
- Melt-on John
- Rule Gritannia
In winter 2019/20 they went out 43 times using 1,023 tonnes of grit - that's covering a distance from Sandwell to South Korea and back again, and we used a total of 1,398 tonnes including the grit we put down on pavements and in town centre.
The previous winter, (2018/19) the gritters went out 39 times covering 10,140 miles of road (roughly the distance from Sandwell to Las Vegas and back). We used more than 2,000 tons of grit treating our roads and refilling more than 540 grit bins
In the winter of 2017/18 our gritters completed 91 runs covering 23,660 miles using more than 6,200 tonnes of salt. December 2017 alone saw us use almost as much grit as we did throughout the whole of the previous winter.
In the winter of 2016/17, the gritters went out 38 times and in the winter of 2015/16, it was 37. In the winter of 2014/15, the team went out 58 times.
How can I find out if the gritters are out?
You can easily keep up to date with our gritters using social media.
Join us on Facebook
Follow us on the Sandwell Facebook page to find out when our gritting crews are out, if schools are closed and information on how frosty or snowy weather is affecting Sandwell.
Want to find out if the gritters are on the road? Need updates on school closures and weather forecasts? Follow @sandwellcouncil on Twitter. During bad weather we'll be using the #wmgrit hashtag.
You can also follow our highways team on Twitter.
If you're a Snow Champion, find out how to clear snow safely.
Report a problem with a grit bin
Fill in this online form to report a problem with a grit bin - for example if it is damaged, missing or tipped over.
Please, note, you cannot use this form to ask for a grit bin to be re-filled. We regularly check and re-fill grit bins over the winter, please bear with us - your grit bin will be re-filled soon.
You cannot use this form to request a new or replacement grit bin. When a new estate or road is built, we look at where grit bins are needed.
School closures during bad weather
If it's snowing or very icy some schools may be closed - find out how to check the latest information on school closures.
Clearing snow safely
If it snows, find out how to clear snow safely.
Winter driving advice
When winter bites, will you and your vehicle be ready?
Highways England, which manages motorways and major A roads, has some useful advice about preparing for your journey and driving in severe weather on its winter web pages, on their Facebook page and on Twitter.