This last week has been a corker, weatherwise, hasn’t it?
The people who run the gritting lorries have been out day and night trying to keep as much of the thousands of miles of Suffolk roads passable as possible.
It seems to be fashionable amongst many Suffolk car-drivers to criticise these heroes pretty well without thought or reflection. Me: I have nothing but the utmost admiration for them. Suffolk’s service is run via a handful of people working throughout the nights and they do a fantastic job – and all without expectation of any kind of thanks at all. I rang a highways officer on Friday at 11am. He sounded a bit dazed (tho very competent). It turned out he’d just got back into the office having been gritting solidly since midnight the night before.
Remember that when you’re getting through the snow in the morning, eh?
As well as remembering to be grateful that our service is so good, we MUST also make sure that any hamfisted attempts at divestment protect the efficiency and effectiveness that we are currently managing in-house. Other counties with privatised gritting services are not managing half so well.
Last yearin mind, I approached Woodbridge Town Council and offered to fund grit bins and equipment for local volunteers to keep the pavements clear. And due to this forward planning Woodbridge has been able to tackle the ice and snow relatively efficiently. Ten grit bins are on site and another four on order: Turban Centre; St Johns Hill/Castle St; California/Ipswich Road (where I’m the volunteer); Fitzgerald Green; Mill Lane; Haughgate Close; Colletts Walk; Warren Hill Road; Market Hill; Victoria Road; Peterhouse; Portland Crescent and Farlingaye.
In the last six days I have spent 15 hours gritting around California, around the Seral and down the footpath that runs along the top of Ipswich Road. I reckon that totalled about 15 miles of roadway walked and gritted.
Do contact the Woodbridge Town Clerk if you want to volunteer. It helps everyone – and lets face it, it is so much more productive than moaning that somebody else hasn’t done it.
Volunteers get to use a barrow, a snowshovel and a a hi-viz jacket; they’re covered by SCC insurance and the benefits include a slimmer figure, the warm glow of having helped – and lots of gratitude.
Not a bad deal, really!