gritting - Coole Lane accident in icy conditions

Residents angry over Coole Lane’s removal from winter gritting routes say it had an immediate chaotic impact on the busy rural road, writes David Harrison.

The first major cold snap of the winter led to a temporary closure of the road which connects Nantwich and Audlem after police were called to an accident yesterday (November 29).

It involved a car and a farm tractor, leading to serious damage to a bridge.

There were no reports of injuries, but police had to close the lane so damage could be cleared from the road.

One resident described the road surface as “treacherous” and said a policeman who attended the scene said it was difficult to drive safely above 15 mph.

Coole Lane has been removed from Cheshire East Council’s gritting routes following a review earlier this year.

At the time, Cllr Craig Browne, chair of the highways and transport committee, said: “The code of practice requires that we focus our efforts on gritting roads where there is higher risk and we will continue to provide an effective and responsive service – as the safety of our road users is paramount.”

But the cost-cutting exercise has been condemned by residents who feel the criteria for gritting dangerous roads was not properly applied to Coole Lane which is more than five miles long.

Four grit bins intended to serve the route were recently provided by Highways.

Coole Lane accident
Coole Lane accident on November 29

Cllr Rachel Bailey, speaking on the Coole Lane Residents’ Facebook page, said: “A flawed formula and the disregard for pertinent comments from people living in the area has resulted in Coole Lane being removed as a designated gritting route.

“It now seems the impact on safety is recognised in that Cheshire East Council will provide four grit bins …for the whole length of Coole Lane.”

One furious resident said: “The lane is very busy as it is.

“The number of cars, caravans and tractors increases each year making it dangerous.

“What are we supposed to do with these bins? Take a shovel in our cars? It’s a farce.

“And look what happens as soon as there is ice. Accidents.

“It’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured – or worse.”

Councillor Craig Browne, Cheshire East Council deputy leader and chair of highways and transport, said: “The council takes the safety of all road users seriously and during the winter months we have 16 gritters on standby or out actively salting our roads.​

“Our focus is on the most critical parts of the road network, including key local amenities, public transport routes and other risk areas. The new gritting routes have been determined according to published assessment criteria, with each road scored and ranked accordingly, following consultations with elected members, local highway groups, schools, cycling groups, town and parish councils and, above all, our emergency services.​

“These include known ‘cold spots’ and access to hospitals, ambulance stations and fire stations. When adverse weather dictates, we will treat up to 635 miles of the network.​

“We operate a risk-based approach to ensure that we focus on gritting roads where the weather presents a high risk to the travelling public. The ‘Well-Managed Highway Infrastructure’ code of practice is overseen by the UK Roads Liaison Group on behalf of the Department for Transport. It recommends that local highway authorities review gritting routes to prioritise the most critical parts of the road network.”​

(Images courtesy of Nantwich News readers)

Coole Lane accident scene
Coole Lane accident damage

One Comment

  1. This is the doing of Independant councillors in a scary alliance with Labour

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