The gritty truth

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I’m the driver of a Peugeot 207 that skidded off the road due to the black ice on the A259 on Monday morning last week.

I was the first of four or five accidents on that stretch of road and this was due to the road not being gritted.

The police and ambulance service personnel were amazed that this stretch of busy road had not been gritted, despite the cold weather being previously predicted. Since then, it has been brought to my attention that the road was, in fact, gritted but not that evening, it was, in fact, gritted at 2pm on Sunday. The reason for this was the cost. It was cheaper for the gritters to go out Sunday afternoon rather than in the evening.

It is despicable that cost was seen as more important than the safety of motorists. Obviously any grit put down that afternoon was gone by the following morning and therefore resulted in lives being put at risk.

I believe that someone needs to be held accountable for this and wanted to bring it to your attention.

Cleo Searle

Nimbus Close


• A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “The A259 Littlehampton bypass is a priority road for our salting operation. It was treated on Sunday, January 18, between 5pm and 8pm.

“We are fully committed to keeping the roads and pavements as safe as possible for the travelling public. Whenever ice or snow is forecast, we carry out precautionary salting on more than 1,000 miles (1,600km) of our road network to reduce the potential for ice forming on the road surface.

“Our priorities for salting roads have been established on the basis of need and level of use. This generally includes for all main roads and a link from each main village to the main road network.

“Despite the high level of service we provide, no guarantee can be given that treated roads will always be completely clear of ice or snow. It takes time for the salt to become effective after roads are salted.

“Rain can wash salt off roads, leaving them prone to re-icing, and in severe cold weather even salt will not prevent roads from icing.

“It is, therefore, really important that motorists drive according to the conditions of the road and with extreme caution, regardless of whether the roads have been salted or not.”

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