Page last updated at 10:25 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010

Hotline inundated with grit calls

Stoke-on-Trent snow
The county council said it was gritting town centres

Highways officials have said they have been inundated with people calling their emergency roads line asking for their area to be gritted.

Staffordshire County Council is now warning people to only call the hotline in "emergency situations" as staff could not cope with the call numbers.

Officials said they usually received on average throughout the year 30 calls an hour.

However, they said this week on average they had 300 calls an hour.

The telephone line is usually reserved for calls including potholes, and lighting or drain problems that could be potentially dangerous.

'Real emergencies'

Mike Maryon, cabinet member for highways, said: "The volume of calls that the highways hotline is trying to handle at the moment is staggering and we are desperate to ensure that real emergency calls are not blocked by minor issues."

The county council decided on Wednesday to reduce its gritting routes to cover A and B roads only to save on road salt.

Grit bins are currently not being restocked.

However, council teams are going out across the county gritting pathways to "critical" locations, such as hospitals, GP surgeries and town centres.

They are also gritting by hand areas around grit bins and on various steep hills.

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