A FLEET of 76 gritters and snowblowers are ready and waiting on standby to keep County Durham's roads open and key workers moving this winter.

Durham County Council says its winter maintenance team has 42,000 tonnes of salt ready to tackle the ice and snow and more than 2,300 salt bins located across the county to assist residents and businesses.

In normal winter conditions, 1,700km of priority one roads will be treated, covering almost half of the county’s road network.

More minor routes, or priority two roads, will also be treated in times of prolonged severe weather when the resources are available.

Mark Readman, Durham County Council’s highways services manager, said: "With the temperatures now starting to drop, it’s important to be prepared for icy conditions on both our roads and footpaths.

"This year, it is more important than ever to keep our key workers moving during periods of bad weather and to enable us to make essential journeys.

“We have already been out in the high Pennines on 1 October for our first frost covering of the winter and the team is ready and waiting to further assist our residents over the coming months.”

Each of the county’s 40 power gritters are also fitted with 360-degree cameras to help improve safety and provide up to date information on the latest weather conditions.

Residents can follow @DurhamCouncil and the hashtag #TwitterGritterNE on Twitter or like /durhamcouncil on Facebook for more information on the latest on the roads.

To see a list of priority gritting routes, find out which roads are affected by adverse weather, to track the council’s gritters or see the roadside weather cameras, visit durham.gov.uk/winterinfo

Residents can also find their nearest salt bin, or request that it is refilled, by visiting durham.gov.uk/saltbins or calling 03000-260000.