Winter Maintenance Service

The main priority of our winter maintenance service is to make our main roads safe for public use. We also aim to minimise delays and the subsequent economic impacts of winter weather. 

The winter maintenance service we deliver

We carry out the following winter maintenance activities on our roads:

  • Pre-salting to help stop ice forming
  • Post-salting to melt ice and snow already formed
  • Snow ploughing to remove snow
  • Maintaining salt bins


Around 53 per cent of the total adopted road network in Torfaen is pre-salted as a precaution when ice and snow is predicted. These priority roads are referred to as our defined network. Our defined network includes:

  • all ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads
  • localised high risk sites and important access routes
  • major town centre shopping areas apart from Cwmbran which is privately owned
  • heavily used pavements when they are covered in snow and ice. 

While we make every effort, it is impossible to keep Torfaen’s roads "ice free". Rain or ground-water can freeze anytime of the day. Snow can become compacted and make roads hazardous to drive on. Post-salting is carried out to melt ice on the roads in these conditions. 

When we salt 

The decision on whether to carry out salting is based on regularly updated specialist forecasts and monitoring from the Met Office. The decision whether or not to salt the roads is based on the temperature of the road surfaces and not the temperature of the air outside. This is why some mornings your car may be frosted but the roads haven't been salted. 

The decision to salt the roads is made when:

  • Roads may become wet and road temperatures are forecast to be at or below freezing
  • Snow is forecast. This is to help prevent the snow from settling, and in such cases, salting is usually completed before freezing. However, rain may occasionally delay treatment and roads may freeze before we are able to salt them. Snow may fall on salted roads, but these roads require the action of traffic to actuate the melting properties of salt

What we can't do

  • Sometimes, despite our best efforts to keep our roads and pavements free from ice and snow, this is not always possible
  • We are unable to salt all our roads, as this would be an enormous and costly task. Minor roads are not treated unless conditions are very severe. To assist with this we provide roadside grit bins and salt tips to enable local trouble spots on minor roads be treated on a self-help basis
  • We do not treat footpaths except in very severe or prolonged ice/snow conditions when major shopping areas and busy pedestrian locations will be treated

Snow clearance

Snow over 50mm deep is removed by ploughing. Ploughing is undertaken in priority order; beginning with the defined network. At least one main access route to towns and large villages will be made "passable with care", as soon as practicable, after snow fall.

Weather forecasting

To be most effective, the treatment should be spread before ice forms or snow settles. Anticipating these conditions, and reacting correctly, depends on a mixture of local knowledge and experience, good local weather forecasts and an awareness of the current road condition e.g. is it wet, dry, previously treated or not etc. 

The Council receives two weather forecasts on a daily basis - a 24 hour forecast and a 2 to 5 day forecast. The 24 hours forecast is updated if there are any changes. In addition to this, a morning summary is sent by the Met Office. We also rely on regular updates from strategically placed weather stations around the borough. 

How our winter maintenance service is organised

Salting vehicles are normally on the roads within one hour of notification and salting completed within three hours. 

Please note the Highways Agency is responsible for the maintenance of trunk roads and motorways. 

Gritting Routes

Use our mapping system to find the gritting routes and grit bins in your area.

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Highway Networks

Tel: 01495 766747

Back to top