Cycle paths to be sprayed with brine instead of grit this winter

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Ollie Rudden
Deputy News Editor

Cycle paths are to be sprayed with brine instead of grit for the first time ever in Glasgow this winter.

The move by Glasgow City Council is to help encourage people to keep using their bikes in the cold months ahead.

Glasgow City Council, Transport Scotland, and the walking and cycling charity, Sustrans, have teamed up to buy a new vehicle that is engineered to de-ice Glasgow’s separate cycle paths with a special salt solution.

This new vehicle will de-ice cycle paths primarily in the South West City Way, West City, Sauchiehall Street’s new “Avenue”, and the South City Way, which are popular parts in Glasgow for cyclists.

The vehicle will be used if forecasts show road surface temperatures dropping below 0.5C. In that event, it will start work at 5am to help with freezing temperatures in the morning. From there, it is estimated to take four hours for the vehicle to spray all the cycle pathways in the city.

500ml of the special salt solution will be in the vehicle, which is mixed with salt, allowing the solution to break away the ice immediately, instead of relying on passing traffic to assist with the breaking of the ice. 

Dave Keane, infrastructure delivery manager at Sustrans, said he believes this vehicle will stop the “bug bear” that is icy paths and will keep Glasgow’s cyclists on their bikes this winter. It will be the first time that a path clearing machine like this has been used by a Scottish local authority.

“We hope that the combination of Glasgow’s growing network of segregated cycle routes and the use of salt solution to keep them clear will make year-round cycling a choice for more people as they travel to school or work,” Keane said.

Councillor Anna Richardson, city convenor for sustainability and carbon reduction, said that the council is determined to keep Glasgow’s cyclists on their bikes this winter.

“Encouraging more people to cycle is critical to our effort to decarbonise the city’s transport system,” Richardson said. “But if we are to see a sustained switch to cycling as a routine form of transportation then we must make the most of our cycle lanes all year round.”


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