Ice and snow on roads and streets
TransportNI 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 TransportNI salt?
TransportNI 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 TransportNI 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
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
You can get more information on this page:
No guarantees for ice free roads
Despite everyone’s best efforts there is no guarantee that roads will always be completely free of ice.
- salting time: It takes up to three-and-a-half 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
Main salting routes
The salted network in Northern Ireland is fairly extensive and the size of the map below only enables the main salting routes to be shown.
Please note: motorways are shown in blue, trunk roads in green and other roads in red.
Details of all salting routes are available from the TransportNI Divisional offices during normal office hours (9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday).