NEW EQUIPMENT AND IMPROVED ADVICE TO HELP KEEP M80 MOVING THIS WINTER

A new snowplough and gritter, along with improved travel advice, will help to keep drivers on the M80 moving this winter.

The motorway was badly affected during the Beast from the East weather event earlier this year, which prompted a review of snow plans for trunk roads across Scotland.

A Hilltip Icestriker from Finland, fitted with a V plough, will be trialled on the M80 to ensure recovery teams can access incidents in the most challenging conditions.

And a customised Unimog, capable of spreading enhanced liquid de-icer, will be strategically located along Scotland’s trunk road network for use during heavy snowfall.

There will also be further live brine trials to give gritting teams alternative treatments to salt during the lowest temperatures.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, was at Transport Scotland’s winter service launch yesterday.

He said: “We can’t prevent challenging winter weather but our teams work all year round to ensure we’re fully prepared and ready to respond when difficult conditions set in.

“The challenges faced during the Beast from the East are still fresh in the memory, so we have looked to make improvements across the board, from equipment and treatments to information and advice for travellers.

“As always, the Traffic Scotland mobile site – my.trafficscotland.org – provides up-to-date information on the trunk road network, the @trafficscotland Twitter page is regularly updated and the popular gritter tracker is also available.

“Transport Scotland officials will continue to work with Police Scotland, the Met Office and other partner organisations to ensure we have a joined-up approach to keep drivers moving this winter.”

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said police advice issued to drivers would be simplified.

He said: “Motorists found the numbering system we were using to indicate the severity of travel warnings confusing, as it didn’t directly relate to the weather warnings issued by the Met Office. As a result, we’ve decided to replace it.

“Our new system will make advice much clearer for drivers of all types of vehicles and we’ll be issuing specific guidance to drivers of goods vehicles, buses and also to drivers of vehicles which may be vulnerable to being blown over on exposed routes.”