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Winter update 3 February

The forecast for tonight is for another mixed picture of winter weather, with rain, sleet and snow combined with icy patches.

03 February
Gritter near Tarbrax

Conditions will also vary across West Lothian, with higher routes more likely to get snow.

The automated photo taken this morning from the weather station near Tarbrax demonstrates how conditions can vary between the higher routes and the rest of the county, making it necessary to repeatedly plough and grit the worst affected routes.

The primary carriageways are being treated this afternoon, with additional treatments planned this evening and overnight due to further snow and wintry shows. Footway tractors and school resources will be deployed from 5am tomorrow morning.

Anyone making essential travel is advised to check the conditions and take extra care.

More details in our FAQ below:

More details in our FAQ below:

Q. Where can I collect grit?

A. Salt piles are available to residents on a self-help basis at the following strategic locations:

  • Xcite Centre, McGinley Way, Linlithgow
  • Xcite Centre, Church Street, Broxburn
  • Livingston North Train Station (South Car Park)
  • Livingston South Train Station Car Park
  • Xcite Centre, Craigswood, Livingston
  • West Calder Business Centre, Dickson Street
  • Blackburn Partnership Centre, Ash Grove
  • Xcite Centre, Jubilee Road, Whitburn
  • Xcite Centre, Torphichen Road, Bathgate
  • Xcite Centre, North Street, Armadale
  • Craig Inn Community Centre, Main Street, Blackridge
  • Xcite Centre, Langton Road, East Calder
  • Eastfield Road car park near the bottle banks, Fauldhouse
  • Community Centre, Bowyett, Torphichen
  • Community Centre, Craigton Place, Winchburgh

Q. Are you refilling grit bins?

A. Our teams have refilled the  90% of the 2,500 public grit bins in West Lothian this week.

If you are using a grit bin, please only take what you need. If you see any commercial businesses taking grit, please let us know. We are aware of several incidents where grit bins have been emptied almost immediately.

The grit from grit bins isn't for private use in your own garden or path. If you are using a grit bin, please only take what you need for the public path and public road outside your home. If you require grit for your own property, please purchase grit or salt from a retailer.

Q. How does gritting work?

A. Rock salt lowers the freezing point of moisture on the road surface, stopping ice from forming and causing existing ice or snow to melt. However for salt to work most effectively it requires other vehicles to crush it and spread it across the road. If it snows heavily then snow will still settle on treated surfaces particularly if traffic volumes are relatively low such as during the night or early morning. This explains why driving conditions can remain difficult even though a road has been ploughed and gritted in both directions.  

Q. When I drive behind a gritter, they aren't always spreading grit/salt. Why is that?

A. Each gritter has an allocated route to ensure the network is treated as efficiently as possible. A gritter may be tasked with spreading salt on a route in Livingston therefore doesn't start spreading until it reaches that location. Another reason is that a gritter may have used all its salt and is heading back to the depot for a refill.

Q. If I see a gritter that is not moving, why is that?

A. Drivers need to have a break from driving - it's the law. If one of our gritters hasn't moved in a while, this could be the reason why. Alternatively the vehicle may have broken down and is awaiting recovery.

Q. Why do gritter vehicles spend so much time in and around Bathgate?

A. Our depot is in Bathgate so all gritters need to set off from Bathgate, return to re-fuel, load up with more grit and change drivers. Therefore they are in and out of Bathgate, a lot. You can track our gritters at Gritter Tracker

Q. Why aren't you gritting housing estates?

A. The council doesn't have the resources to treat all roads simultaneously therefore we need to prioritise. Housing estates are secondary level 2 routes treated on a reactive basis only during normal working hours. These routes will only be treated when the higher priority routes are deemed to be in a satisfactory condition.

Q. What about railway station car parks and other private car parks?

A. The council don't treat private car parks.

Thank you and stay safe everyone.

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