Ever Ready M6toll Prepares for Snowfall

The first flakes of snow may be about to fall on the Midlands this year but M6toll is all geared up and ready for business.

It has 5000 tonnes of rock salt stored in a salt barn at its head office site, in Weeford, Staffordshire – a mammoth reserve to drive through the worst of the winter weather.

Having sufficient salt in store is just the start…operations to keep M6toll safe for its users is an around-the-clock undertaking. It has a bespoke forecast sent three times daily to provide weather warnings and a consultant forecaster at the end of a phone to liaise with the road’s duty officer when needed.

Midland Expressway Limited, which owns the M6toll, has 23 drivers who can get behind the wheel of its five gritters and six vehicles can carry snow ploughs so should whiteout conditions ensue, the road can be cleared as quickly as possible.

Salt can be spread over the three lanes and the hard shoulder in one pass along the 27-mile stretch. This can be undertaken in an average of one hour and 40 minutes.

The gritters are capable of spreading 40gms per square metre for a full route. And when partner agencies need a little extra help, the M6toll is on standby to lend a helping hand. It has a mutual aid agreement with Highways England (HE) which enable its gritters to access their routes via the M6toll, shared gritting routes on sections where M6toll and M42 share lanes, loading at M6toll Depot for back-to-back runs and shared salt supplies when needed.

The M6toll acquires its road salt from a mine near Winsford, Cheshire - it has a 6mm grain size.

James Hodson, Director of Motorway Operations and Facilities for M6 toll, said: “The snow is currently forecast to reach the Midlands today. We are prepared and ready to play our part in keeping the region’s roads open and safe on which to drive. However, we would urge drivers to be vigilant; give themselves extra travel time, reduce their speed and keep tuned into weather updates.”


Keeping things moving - Motorway operative Neil Overton in the salt barn