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Ice and snow on roads and streets

Roads Service aims to help traffic on main roads move safely in wintry conditions by spreading salt at the most effective times. Staff are on standby 24 hours a day to monitor and react according to the conditions.

What roads do Roads Service salt?

Roads Service focuses its resources on routes carrying 80 per cent of traffic.

  • main through routes carrying more than 1,500 vehicles per day
  • other busy through routes carrying more than 1,000 vehicles per day may be included if there are difficult circumstances
  • special allowance is made for school and other buses by a weighting factor, an example of this weighting is that a 40 seater bus is counted as 40 vehicles
  • links to small settlements, (100 dwellings or more) via the shortest route to the main salted road
  • on more lightly trafficked roads salt bins (grit boxes) or grit piles may be provided for use by the public on a self-help basis
  • special arrangements are in place for rural schools that face particular difficulties
  • all other routes are normally not salted

When does salting take place?

The Winter Service season lasts from the end of October to mid April. This can be extended if necessary. The Met Office provides Roads Service with special weather forecasts.

When is salt not normally spread?

  • when heavy rain is occurring, due to the risk of salt wash-off
  • on dry roads where frost is not predicted to form
  • in the middle of the night and on roads with fewer vehicles, as traffic is required to turn salt into de-icing solution
Try to ensure your vehicle does not block access for winter service vehicles, (abandoned and stationary vehicles are the main cause of obstruction).

Advice when driving in icy or snowy conditions

The best advice to motorists is given in the Highway Code for Northern Ireland:

  • drive with care even if the roads have been salted
  • be prepared for the road conditions changing over relatively short distances
  • take care when overtaking salt spreading machines

No guarantees for ice free roads

Despite everyone’s best efforts there is no guarantee that roads will always be completely free of ice.

Remember:

  • salting time: It takes up to 3.5 hours to salt a route so your journey may start or end on an untreated section of the route
  • if it rains the salt may be washed away and ice may form
  • the weather forecasts are not always 100 per cent accurate

Salting Routes

Click to view larger Map

Details of all salting routes are available from the Roads Service Divisional offices (contact details below).

Roads Service Headquarters
Clarence Court,
10-18 Adelaide Street,
Belfast,
BT2 8GB
Telephone: (028) 9054 0540
Roads Service Northern Division
County Hall,
Castlerock Road,
Coleraine,
BT51 3HS
Telephone: 0300 200 7891
After Hours:(028) 7035 3202
Roads Service Southern Division
Marlborough House,
Central Way,
Craigavon,
BT64 1AO
Telephone: 0300 200 7892
After Hours:(028) 3752 9500
Roads Service Eastern Division
Hydebank,
4 Hospital Road,
Belfast,
BT8 8JL
Telephone: 0300 200 7893
After Hours: (028) 9025 3000 (24 Hours)
Roads Service Western Division
County Hall,
Drumragh Avenue,
Omagh,
BT79 7AF
Telephone: 0300 200 7894
After Hours:(028) 8224 1999

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