HIGHWAYS teams across North Yorkshire are preparing to face the challenges of winter on the county’s 5,600 miles of roads.

Between now and April, the county council works with contractor Ringway to keep roads moving during periods of extreme weather. It uses 86 gritters, 111 farming contractors and a number of road and footway snowblowers.

The annual budget for winter maintenance is £6m and 54 per cent of the roads are gritted on a priority basis. The council has 55,000 tonnes of salt stocks and treated 7,083 routes last year. In addition, there are 8,000 grit heaps and bins.

Executive member for highways Cllr Don Mackenzie said: “Dealing with severe winter conditions on such a large network is a complex and expensive operation. But it is a top priority to keep the county on the move and we are well prepared.”

Meanwhile, the authority has now completed this year’s surface dressing programme during which, in association with its partners Ringway and Eurovia, has surface dressed about 500 miles of road.

The season saw 3.38 million square metres of surface dressing completed by two crews, despite each team losing about 30 days because of bad weather, utilising the latest machinery and vehicles.

The process can extend the life of a road by up to ten years.