A new salt barn has been built as part of a £1.1million project as the cold winter gritting season grips Dudley borough.

Midlands based construction business, Thomas Vale Construction have recently completed work on the unit at Dudley Council’s Lister Road Depot.

The barn will be used to store the council’s grit pile which will be spread across 460 kilometres of road this winter. It will be capable of storing up to 7,500 tonnes of salt, which is currently stored in the open. It will save an estimated £25,000 each year in lost salt which gets exposed to the elements.

The work also included a new green waste facility for the borough which will contribute towards the delivery of an increase in the amount of recoverable, recyclable and reusable waste generated across the borough.

Councillor Judy Foster, cabinet member for transportation, said:

“I’m delighted the new salt barn has now been completed. It means the salt can now be stored inside and away from the elements, preventing salt water run off in surrounding areas.

“Our winter gritting programme is now fully operational and we are continuously monitoring the weather, and deploying gritting crews accordingly. I would also warn drivers to take extra care on the roads at this time of year as they can be icy even after gritting.”

The new stores will also improve the running of the site and provide improved parking and lighting.

The gritting team, based at the council’s Lister Road depot, will work around the clock to keep more than 470 kilometres of road clear during severe weather. A staggering 6,500 tonnes of salt was ordered onto site earlier this year, the same as last winter.

With ten lorries and eight gritting routes, the team makes sure all of the borough’s principal routes, classified roads, town centre and bus routes are salted throughout the winter.

More than 1,000 grit bins, located across the borough, have also been filled with salt, for people to use on the highway as and when needed.

Last winter Dudley gritters went out on 43 days to treat borough roads, using a total of 3,500 tonnes of grit to ensure road networks and side roads remained open.