Alpine Street grit bin in the sun July 2019

Katesgrove’s VIP grit bin tuned in to the webcast from Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee on the evening of 20 November to find out about the gritter and grit bins plans for this winter.

The grit bin at the corner of Alpine Street and Elgar Road is the only one in Katesgrove. The location meets the strict criteria needed to justify standing on the corner watching the world go by for most of the year and immediately jumping into action when required.

All grit bin sites must score at least 60 out of 85 points when a risk assessment is carried out against 11 criteria:

  • Not on roads already on the gritting network or near a grit bin
  • Road gradient greater than 10%
  • Severe bends not including junctions
  • Close proximity to and falling towards a heavily trafficked main road
  • Number of premises for which the road is only access
  • Traffic density at peak times
  • Roads with high vehicle usage and a gradient of 10% or more
  • Shaded carriageways with a minimum gradient of 10%
  • Side road leading onto a main road
  • Known problem with water and/or frost hollows
  • Access available from carriageway for filling

Although the plan says that “at the end of the winter, all grit bins are collected, cleaned and stored away during the summer months”, it has been a couple of years since the Alpine Street grit bin has been on holiday to the Costa del Depot.

Gritter on Kendrick Road

Gritter on Kendrick Road

Reading’s precautionary road salting requirements are also strictly defined. Primary salting routes are major routes with heavy volumes of traffic, most public transport routes and some roads between residential and commercial areas. They comprise 118.8km of roads, which is 30% of Reading’s highways, and include Southampton Street, London Street, Silver Street, Mount Pleasant, Whitley Street and Basingtoke Road.

The secondary salting network takes in all other other public transport and important routes and make up another 11% of Reading’s roads . This includes Alpine Street and the whole length of Elgar Road.

A map showing gritting routes and grit bin locations is included as appendix J within the service plan.

The M4 and junction 11 slip roads are the responsibility of Highways England.

RBC Streetcare salt town centre footpaths, pavements and cycle routes when snow has fallen and is expected to stay for a prolonged period. RBC also has two hand operated snow ploughs that can be used around the town centre and on bridges across the Thames.

The top priority routes for clearing snow are the A33, A329 (including IDR), A4, A4074, A4155 and A327.

At the same meeting RBC extended their contract with their winter service supplier J H Cresswell & Sons Ltd until 2022.

  1. RBC Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee 20 November 2019 papers & webcast
  2. RBC Winter Service Plan 2019-20
  3. Highways England
  4. Alpine Street grit bin has a staycation this year