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Highway authorities need to adopt appropriate maintenance plans for their new cycle and walkways to ensure they are able to keep them open day and night, especially in the winter.

These are the thoughts of Mark Dutton, Managing Director of Safecote, who says cyclists and pedestrians will only have the confidence to use them if they are properly maintained and free of snow and ice in the winter.

“As a keen and frequent cyclist myself, I applaud the current high-level of investment in cycle lanes and better facilities for both cyclists and walkers. Local authorities have reacted extremely quickly in advancing plans for both temporary and more permanent solutions which, given what they have had to deal with over the last few months, is a fantastic effort and one this industry should be proud of. But as a cyclist, I know how dangerous the road network can be, especially in severe winter conditions and councils need to have a well-planned maintenance regime in place to ensure their cycle and walkways are kept free of snow and ice on a regular basis,” Mr Dutton told Highways News.

He said even though they are a lot quieter than during the day, cycle and walkways are still used at night when sub zero temperatures in the winter are a common occurrence. That is when ice is formed on the network, which is not always visible to those travelling on it.

New guidance on treating footways and cycleways in winter, due to be released soon, will provide local authorities with more detailed up-to-date information on the type of de-icers and equipment needed to deliver an effective maintenance programme, as well as the benefits of treatment and case studies on route selection and treatment methods.

It is expected to say that route selection should be based on the Well-Managed Highways Infrastructure Code of Practice’s risk-based approach. It will also offer councils factors to consider when chosing the right treatment options and methodology. The Well-Managed Highway Infrastructure Code of Practice also recommends that local authorities identify a minimum winter resilience network for each of their respected areas, to include ‘essential’ footways and cycleways as part of this.

Safecote has been offering expert advice and supporting local authorities with their winter service delivery plans for several years, playing its part to help make winter safer. The company supplies the Supamix range of liquid de-icers as well as solid de-icers and anti-icicng surface overlay treatments. It is also known for its ‘Safecote’ branded liquid additive which is added to salt to help more effective coverage on the network.

Mr Dutton added: “We are in a unique position to be able to use our experience to advise and support councils with maintaining their active travel routes, especially in the winter, keeping them free of ice and safer for all users.”