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islandroadsgrittingA new winter maintenance headquarters for the Island’s winter operation is nearing completion on the outskirts of Newport.

The new modern depot at Stag Lane has been constructed by Island Roads on the brownfield site of the former Isle of Wight Council highways maintenance depot and will be the home to six brand new gritters lorries, three back up gritters as well as the Island’s road salt supply which under the new Highway’s PFI contract will be well in excess of the volume required for use in an average winter.

Around 50 staff will be based at the new depot which will be an all-year-round facility as besides being the base for the winter maintenance operation, it will also be home to Island Roads’ gully emptying and street cleansing teams. New equipment at the depot will also enable water collected during gully cleansing to be recycled.

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The six new gritters are fitted with the latest ‘pre-wet’ technology which sprays the salt immediately with brine solution prior to it being spread on the carriageway. This technology ensures salt sticks to the highway and gets to work on the road surface straight away. It also means there is less ‘dust’ to find its way onto other vehicles and roadside verges.

The vehicles are also fitted with satellite tracking so their whereabouts can be plotted and also displayed via Island Roads’ website so residents can chart the progress of salting in their areas. These salting routes under the PFI Highways Maintenance contract have been decided as part of the contract with the Isle of Wight Council.

Under the new contract an additional 15% in road length will be treated than previously undertaken.

Island Roads Service Director, Paul Herbert said:

“The new winter maintenance depot will play a key part in Island Roads’ operation to manage the highway network.

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“The range of integrated activities that are based there illustrates the wide scope of services included in the PFI contract. Both the new building and the new equipment such as the winter fleet that will be based there – with a value of over £1 million – demonstrates the massive level of investment and government grant the 25-year programme is bringing to the Island.”

Cllr Jonathan Gilbey, the council’s cabinet member responsible for the Highways PFI (pictured) said:

“This is a first class new facility built on brownfield land and centrally located just off a main road which is ideal. At the end of the contract, the depot will be handed back to the council so it provides the Island with a future asset as well as a current one.”

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