Transport Scotland unveils new winter response vehicles for Scotland’s roads

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Transport chiefs have expanded their winter fleet for Scotland’s trunk roads to make it more responsive to varying weather conditions.

A new recovery vehicle to mitigate the impacts of flooding will be used alongside more than 200 traditional gritters at 42 depots.

It has been fitted with a remote-controlled crane and specialist pump to help clear flooding incidents.

An all-terrain 4×4 patrol vehicle is also being trialled on the M80 which can reach incidents more efficiently than larger vehicles.

A new combination gritter is meanwhile being used in the north west on the A835 after successful trials in Scandinavia.

It gives more flexibility in the choice of road treatments and builds on the success of brine trials in the area.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf, who visited the Traffic Scotland national control centre on Thursday, said: “Our teams work all year round to prepare for winter and this year we are trialling more technology to improve services across the trunk roads.

“The last few winters have seen a variety of conditions, with storms and heavy rain as well as snow and ice, and this requires flexibility in our response.

“The new equipment will assist in our efforts to help keep the network moving in these variable conditions.”

More grit will be available than was used across the whole of last year and salt barns are also full in preparation for winter conditions.

A gritter tracker is also back online to allow motorists to check which roads have been treated.

Transport Scotland says it will continue to work with Police Scotland and the Met Office to keep motorists updated.

Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, head of road policing, said: “Please help us and pay heed to weather reports and travel advice which are available from a wide range of media sources and updated frequently.

“We only ever issue travel advice when we see an increased risk for road users due to severe or very cold weather conditions. Take a few minutes to plan ahead for your journey.

The Met Office says it is prepared and ready to warn motorists about weather conditions.

Andy Kirkman, director of government services, said: “We are ready to inform the Scottish public of any approaching severe weather.

“Winter in Scotland can bring storms and heavy rain in addition to cold weather and icy conditions, but by pooling our expertise we can help people to prepare for whatever the season may bring.”