National Highways officially switches over to autumn and winter operations

Autumn and winter operations at National Highways officially got underway at the weekend (Sat Oct 1) – to help keep motorists moving safely on our roads – whatever adverse weather occurs over the coming months.

The company has switched to autumn and winter operations
The company has switched to autumn and winter operations

Our highways managers and staff – working with meteorological experts from the Met Office, Metdesk and DTN are closely monitoring weather forecasts and are prepared for whatever challenging conditions the autumn and winter seasons may bring.

National Highways last week offered advice for motorists travelling on the roads in the autumn amid changing weather conditions where there is an increased chance of severe weather including fog, heavy rain, ice, high winds and gales.

Our roads are only salted when there is a risk of ice forming. This could be when the road surface temperatures are forecast to drop below +1°C or when moisture could be present that could form ice.

Various behind-the-scenes activities came into operation at National Highways at the start of October. These include the monitoring of detailed road weather forecasts from DTN and Metdesk and updates at various stages throughout the day, plus a daily national Met Office weather forecast.

These are all assessed – even if no further action is required for the first few weeks if the weather is mild.

In addition to the monitoring of weather forecasts, vehicles have been maintained and serviced during the summer and are in position at their depots ready to go - whenever the call comes.

Also, drivers have been retrained during the summer season and are on winter rosters together with our autumn and winter decision-makers.

A team of Met Office forecasters are embedded at our National Traffic Operations Centre (NTOC) in Birmingham, providing weather impact advice, daily national and regional advisories and severe weather alerts to help inform our National Network Managers.

Darren Clark, Severe Weather Resilience Manager at National Highways, said: “We spend five months during the warmer weather gearing up for seven months of operations covering the autumn and winter period, right up to 30 April.

“October is an important month and has been for many years, giving us the opportunity to test and refine our plans before severe weather conditions arrive later in the season.”