The gritter lorry sliding off the A886 today was not simply a matter of bad luck for the driver and the road-users who had to wait several hours for the road to be properly gritted and cleared, it was a critical lack of foresight on behalf of the council. As one of the by-standers said of the situation, “Yet again, the council have been caught with their pants down!”
It is easy in hindsight to criticise a decision, or lack thereof, when unforeseeable weather conditions intervene. However, by 8pm last night at least two residents in Glendaruel had telephoned the council to warn them that there was the potential for a serious incident on the A886 because of black ice. When a thaw and rain is followed by a freeze, with water remaining on the road, as it does on the length of the A886 in question, and when residents who used the road from later afternoon to early evening are indicating that there is a potentially life-threatening, weather-led situation occurring, what is the prudent, sensible decision to make? Grit.
Had the gritters been sent out in the evening last night, the road would have remained passable. No cars, vans or gritters would have left the road, no lorries jack-knifed and no economic loss would have been suffered. There were road-users who had had to stop on the road and wait for the gritter — the earliest of which was a man want to get to Inveraray for 7am. He waited over 4 hours to get moving again.
We have had no reports of any injuries or damage incurred, but that is more through luck than judgement.
If individuals are publicly-minded enough to ring in and give the council some insight into what is happening with the road network, why is it that we have gritting lorries turning out 12 hours after the point at which they would have been useful?
Here’s our original report.
Criticism of the gritter lorry driver in question should not be inferred: the road was like an ice rink for over three miles, as the following pictures show, it was difficult enough to walk on it let alone drive.