In addition to precautionary treatments of our primary treatment network it is also necessary to respond to changing weather conditions, including moderate and heavy snowfalls. Our response will be dependent on the prevailing weather conditions, however our resources will be targeted on a hierarchical basis depending on the route priority.
We will endeavour to keep our primary treatment network clear and therefore we will initially target resources towards our main 'A' class and busy roads. This will inevitably mean that in times of severe winter weather there may be a delay before we are in a position to be able to treat more minor roads. Residential streets are a low priority in bad weather as our focus is on keeping the main routes within Aberdeenshire operating.
To assist in our winter operations agreements are in place with approximately 120 farmers. These farmers are supplied with snow ploughs by the council and are commissioned to carry out snow clearing operations on minor routes providing an important service to our more isolated rural communities.
For safety reasons snow gates are located on routes where sudden violent snowstorms of arctic severity are frequently experienced. The closure and subsequent opening of snow gates will only take place on the advice of the council and with the authority of the Police.
The roads controlled by snow gates within the Aberdeenshire area are:
- A93 Perth to Braemar Road at Glenshee
- A939 Tomintoul to Cockbridge Road at the Lecht
- B974 Banchory to Fettercairn Road at Cairn O’ Mount
- B976 off the A93 junction at Crathie
- B976 at Gairnshiel Lodge
The A939 Tomintoul to Cockbridge road is one of the highest roads in Scotland, the Lecht Ski Centre area is where the road is at its highest elevation and most exposed. The Glenshee Centre is located on the A93 at Cairnwell, south of Braemar. This is also a high route and the topography of the area makes it challenging during winter.
These roads can be subject to closure following heavy falls of snow or when strong winds blow snow from the hills.
The council recognises the importance of winter sports to the rural economy. Due to their location, providing access in winter conditions can be challenging, however the council works in close partnership with the ski centre operators to maintain the service.