“Council Caught With Their Pants Down” After Ignoring Locals’ Warnings


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.

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8 Responses to “Council Caught With Their Pants Down” After Ignoring Locals’ Warnings

  1. Pingback: Argyll News: A886 Closed by Black Ice | For Argyll

  2. thankfully nobody seriously injured this time!its only a matter of time before there is a serious accident caused by the council not wanting to pay workers over time. inveraray to dalmally road was the same about 5ish last night (3rd dec). i think the problem was the showers washing the salt off the road, i passed the dalmally gritter doing a grand job of trying to clear the road. i also have my own opinion on why these roads were so slippy. the type of coating they’re using on the roads is called SMA made with lots of (spelling)biteomen and stone making a very smoothe surface. when theres been a shower the water just lies on the surface making it very easy to freeze.the other bits of road covered by surface dressing made by coating the road in biteomen then laying stone on top of it is a far superior surface! these stone chips stick up from the road and give your tyre grip in these icy conditions.here is the important bit! the use of sma surfacing has been banned from being used in germany and the R.O.I for this very reason! why do our councils and the scottish exec still use this surfacing(sma) on our roads?

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  3. Worth bearing in mind (non studded) winter tyres will not make much of a difference on the type of ice shown here.

    I have winter tyres fitted and in snow, slush and wet they are fantastic. The grip is staggering, but most importantly, the braking is improved as well as handling on corners. I fit them every winter now as the practical and safety benefits are obvious.

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  4. Yesterday morning, there was no evidence of the A83 having been gritted south of Inveraray – this is a Transport Scotland responsibility.
    The road margins on the Furnace straight were dangerous to walk on and the main surface was only walkable because of the passage of traffic weakening the ice, whose underlying presence could still be felt.

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  5. Also, remember it’s your councillors who make the decisions on the cutbacks that are to be made, then when something like this happens and you complain to them, they act like they’re your best buddy saying they’ll get it sorted, ignoring (deliberately not telling you they have made the recommendations that money is to be saved from each service) their own bad decisions, Each and every one of them either has a problem with their memory or they’re completely two faced. Make your own mind up.

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    • There’s a councillor in Mid Argyll – almost as old as time – who’s a past master at being everyone’s friend but actually doing little or nothing, and could teach the youngsters a thing or two about this essential skill.

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