Gritters on standby! It’s Spreaddie Mercury keeping the roads going in the heat

As the temperatures rise in the mega heatwave, Lincolnshire’s pluckiest gritter will be on call to keep things moving.

Loading the gritter up with sand to help melting roads.
Loading the gritter up with sand to help melting roads.

With most of Lincolnshire receiving its first ever red weather warning ahead of a spike in temperatures on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the county council highways team have plans in place so that road users will still be able to get about.

One gritter will be on 24-hour standby through the heatwave, ready to go at a moment’s notice to spread sand on road surfaces that could start to melt in the extreme temperatures.

Affectionately nicknamed Spreaddie Mercury, the small gritter is filled with 2.5 tonnes of sand and can treat around 20 miles of road between fill-ups.

All ready to go - gritter on standby for the heatwave in Lincolnshire.

Bitumen used in the surface of roads can change texture when surface temperatures exceed 50C. Once that point in passed the tar-like substance can melt, leaving the road surface sticky. To counter this, Spreaddie will be able to spread sand directly across affected areas and keep the roads running where needed.

The gritting team will be on the lookout for reports of possible heat-related issues on the county’s roads from members of the public, highways officers and the emergency services. Any surface concerns that are reported will be investigated and, if necessary, Spreaddie will be sent out to dust the area with sand.

Issues with the road can be reported through the FixMyStreet app.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways said: “Spreaddie Mercury is on call and ready to go as the heat builds.

Spreaddie Mercury is on standby to hit the hot roads.

“This gritter might have a memorable nickname but it carries out a very serious job. So far we have not had to send the machine out for any heat-related issues at any time over the past five years plus.

“Spreaddie is usually sent out to put sand down on oil or fuel that’s spilt on the roads but that job description can expand quite a bit when we’re faced with what’s about to arrive weather-wise.

“With the warning about such high heat there is a very real chance that road surface temperatures could exceed 50C. If that happens then we will be ready to react where needed and this could mean the first time many of us see a gritter on Lincolnshire roads during the summer.”

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Ready to cope with 40C extreme weather warning.