There’s not a snowflake in sight across Lancashire, but the heatwave that has hit the county led to the unusual sight of gritters out and about in the summer sun.
As we all know, the yellow vehicles are usually deployed during extreme cold snaps to stop road surfaces from freezing over and potholes emerging from trapped water.
But the current heatwave has led to road surfaces softening in some places, cutting the surface up in places and making it slippery as well as which can then stick to vehicle tyres.
Six of Lancashire County Council’s gritting vehicles have been spotted around the county this week spraying crushed rock particles such as granite dust on the roads to create a non-stick layer between roads and vehicles.
It comes after roads in some areas such as Buckshaw Village, started to melt, with the bitumen on the road surface sticking to wheels.
Motorists reported that in Buckshaw Village, the tarmac on Dawson Lane between Wigan Road and the Bobbin Mill pub had started to stick to shoe soles and car tyres.
One driver told the Guardian: “I got in my car after walking on the street and my foot was sticking to my car accelerator peddle.
“I can’t imagine what it’s doing to the cars and their wheels.
“There’s marks in the road from where they’ve driven and it’s cutting up when they come to a stop.”
Many other motorists took to social media to showcase their damaged tyres and warn other motorists.
Neil Robinson said: “The tarmac is literally melting and sticking to tyres in clumps at the end of Dawson Lane near the intersection.”
Lancashire County Council has been quick to calm fears over ruined tyres, with a spokesman saying “the bitumen will clean off and products are available to help if necessary”.
Lancashire County Coun Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The prolonged spell of hot weather is causing the bitumen to soften on roads all over the country.
“The problem is that it can start to stick to car tyres, damaging the road by stripping the surface off, and become slippery, which is a potential safety problem.”
Coun Iddon added: “Now this problem has started it will carry on until the weather cools off so we’re sending the gritters out every day at the moment to those places where we know this is a problem, as well as responding to any new locations picked up by our inspectors or reported by the public.”
Regarding damage to roads like the aforementioned Dawson Lane in Buckshaw, Coun Iddon explained: “In some places we’re also putting out signs with advisory speed limits to encourage vehicles to slow down for safety.
“It’s not the first time we’ve had to do this in Lancashire, and our climate means that it doesn’t happen very often.
“If permanent damage is caused to any of the network, once the weather cools down, we’ll assess these locations for any repairs which may be needed.
“In the meantime, I’d ask people to take particular care on the roads, observe any advisory speed limits in place, and report any problems to us which we may not already be aware of.”