Friday, 22 December 2017

Respect for gritter drivers is for life, not just for Christmas!

Buckinghamshire's Transportation Cabinet Member, Mark Shaw, had a fitting seasonal message about extending the festive goodwill to all gritter drivers into the new year, and beyond. Published on Facebook, Friday 22nd December 2017. 

"Well, what a winter we’ve had so far! The first time gritters went out this year was back on Guy Fawke’s Night and since then the big yellow machines have been out on the roads over 30 times already. The biggest challenge was, most definitely, the snow weekend of the 9th and 10th of December, where our amazing workforce were out and about on the roads five times in 24 hours. More than 60 staff members, operatives and office based alike, were on duty on Sunday 10th and I’m so grateful to every one of them for working tirelessly to keep the roads safe.

One of our new gritters for 2017, Salt Disney!

We were also ‘snowed under’ (it wouldn’t be Christmas without a rubbish joke, would it?) with some really lovely messages of praise and thanks from members of the public via email and social media. We made sure those messages made it to the people on the front line, and even turned them into a Christmas card for over 100 staff across three depots! It’s nice to reflect at this time of year, when their work is so high profile, what these front line team members really do for all of us in Buckinghamshire.

When their work is so high profile, like when it snows, it is so lovely to hear the positive feedback for TfB’s operatives. However, sadly, this is not the case all year round. Incidents of abuse to road workers are a big industry problem, not just in Buckinghamshire, but on roads all over the country. Tensions can run high when works are causing congestion or road blocks, but some of the abuse directed at the people who are just out there doing their jobs has been really nasty this year. We actually saw one conviction against an offender earlier this year, whose abuse of one of the guys working on the roads earned him a hefty fine and community service. And so, as we all head into the new year, probably a little worse for wear after a great Christmas, I hope that the goodwill that has been flooding in for the brilliant gritter drivers, winter operatives, and all other staff who go the extra mile in adverse conditions, can continue into the next year and beyond. Remember, the same people you might see filling pot holes, holding you up on the roads in the summer, are the same people working so hard to keep you moving in winter."


Friday, 8 December 2017

We’re ready! | Five things you need to know about our winter service

Transport for Buckinghamshire is ready for the cold weather and prepared to help keep the roads safe. Here’s five things you need to know about our winter service:

1. Winter service lasts from October to March every year. 

By mid-October every year TfB is ready for winter, and the daily monitoring of road surface temperatures begins. A dedicated winter team receives detailed weather forecast analysis every day, which contains information on air temperature, road surface temperature (which can often be a few degrees lower than air temperature) likelihood of snow and ice, humidity and wind speed. Using the data they are given, the team decides whether or not to salt the roads, and at what time. Winter service generally winds up around late March when spring arrives and temperatures get milder.

2. We name our gritters! 

TfB has a fleet of 25 gritters, based at four depots countywide, and each of the big yellow machines has a name on their front bonnet. This year we replaced 12 of the fleet, which meant new names needed to be chosen for them. We opened up the decision making process to the public and a judging panel chose the best ones:

Usain Salt and Snow Farah (both based in High Wycombe), Grit ‘n’ Bear It, Walter the Salter, and Grit Expectations (based at Amersham) Gritty Bang Bang (based in Gawcott) and Ice Ice Baby, Salt Disney, Rocky Horror, Snowbot, The Gritter Good, and True Grit (all based in Aylesbury). Thanks to all the members of the public who helped us pick these brilliant names!

New gritters, Usain Salt and Snow Farah at the High Wycombe TfB Depot

You can see the daily gritting decision by following us on Twitter (@TfBAlerts) or by checking our winter page, where you can also track the gritters on an interactive map. 

3. We salt 44% of Buckinghamshire roads

Our primary salting routes cover the most important roads to keep everyone moving, covering 1405km of the county's A and B road network – that’s about 44% of the total network, and is more than many local authorities grit. In times of very severe weather salting will be carried out on secondary routes as well. These include classified roads which are not included in the primary routes, unclassified roads serving communities of 200 dwellings or more and unclassified roads with a gradient of 10% or less. We may also salt cycle ways and footways in main shopping areas and other key pedestrian and cycle facilities. In general, the secondary salting network will be treated after the formation of ice or fall of snow – fortunately we have not had a severe winter in Buckinghamshire in several years. You can view the gritting route map on our winter page. 

An overview of the Buckinghamshire precautionary gritting routes

4. We have 50 gritter drivers on call every day for six months

 From October to March TfB has 50 specially trained gritter drivers on call 24/7 – that includes Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. That’s a Christmas of staying off the booze and potentially abandoning carving the turkey to get out on the roads!
There are roughly two drivers per gritter who rotate gritting duties on an A-B basis; this ensures no driver does two runs in one night, should we need to salt twice in 24 hours. Generally the drivers get given between 4 – 6 hours’ notice if they will need to go out, but they need to be available at 2 hours’ notice should the forecast change suddenly, or another driver become unwell. What’s more, gritting generally takes place in the evening and throughout the night, so the drivers are still carrying out their day jobs in highway maintenance. 

5. We store thousands of tonnes of salt across the county 

Rock salt is used to grit roads - it prevents frost and ice forming and helps to melt ice. TfB has four rock salt barns based across Buckinghamshire in High Wycombe, Amersham, Aylesbury and Buckingham, as well as an emergency reserve of 3000 tonnes of salt near south Bucks, just in case. Each barn holds around 1000 tonnes of salt at a time and is topped up throughout the winter - each full salt run of the county uses up approximately 85 tonnes! Salt requires traffic movement and moisture in the atmosphere to turn it into a de-icing solution. In order for it to work effectively, vehicles need to drive over the salt to grind it into smaller particles and spread it across the road. 

A gritter offloading its leftover salt at the end of a gritting run 

The County Council has a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know this winter - visit 

Friday, 1 September 2017

Chesham residents – please keep clear for gully cleaning in Waterside next week!

From Tuesday 5th to Wednesday 6th September, Transport for Buckinghamshire will be cleaning every gully and pipe along a 1.3 mile stretch in Waterside, Chesham. Drivers are asked to avoid parking along the stretch from the roundabout at Red Lion Street down to Mill Close so the gullies are accessible for the cleaning machinery. 

The road will remain open but there will be some traffic management in place to allow the cleaning crew to carry out the work safely, so there may be some delays in the area between 9am and 3.30pm on both days. Around 40 gullies will be cleaned in total – this is essential maintenance ahead of the winter as it will reduce the risk of localised flooding, decreasing the chance of ice and limiting damage to the road surface thus prolonging its life. 

TfB thanks residents and businesses for their cooperation and patience while this work is carried out. 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Overnight investigative work on Marlow Obelisk planned for next week

Investigative works will be carried out on the Marlow obelisk overnight next Wednesday, 23 August, ahead of the three week conservation work expected to start later this year.

Wednesday night’s works, which will begin at 9pm and continue until the early hours of the Thursday morning, will help to establish the scale and specific requirements of the upcoming conservation efforts.
The outcome of Wednesday night’s works will help to determine when the full conservation project can go ahead, as it will make clear precisely what work is needed and how the traffic management, such as the diversion and traffic light arrangement, will work.

Transport for Buckinghamshire hope to start the work this October and anticipate it will take three weeks, but will know more after the investigation is complete. Ideally the works period will include October half term to take advantage of the quieter than usual traffic, but residents and local businesses can rest assured that the works will not be scheduled to conflict with the busy Christmas shopping season.
The historic landmark, which sits at the centre of the roundabout at the top of the High Street, was erected in 1822 as a waypoint marker for travelling coaches. It has deteriorated in recent years and whole sections of stone lettering have broken away. 

Marlow's mayor Jocelyn Towns with the obelisk

The renovation works will be carried out by a specialist contractor who will clean and repair the monolith and re-engrave the damaged lettering using photographs and records to ensure the restoration is faithful to the original appearance of the Grade II listed monument.

“We’re delighted that the obelisk will be repaired, and hopefully before the busiest time of the year – Christmas!” Jocelyn Towns, Marlow’s mayor, said.

“Transport for Buckinghamshire has said they will do their utmost to complete the works in the shortest possible time and with the least possible disruption to the local area. There will be short delays due to the traffic lights, so we hope people will prepare in advance for their journeys during the period.”

The diversion and traffic lights will be in place 24 hours a day for the duration of the works, even though at times there may be no contractors on site. County Councillor Paul Irwin, who is Deputy Cabinet Member for Transportation, explained the need for the 24/7 diversion:

“I hope that residents will bear with the work this autumn, and understand that the 24 hour closure is necessary even though contractors will not always be on site, as they need to allow time for materials to cure before continuing – they will, however, be encouraged to work weekends to speed the process along.
"There’s no denying that the conservation work will cause some traffic issues, but the people of Marlow have campaigned to see the obelisk restored to its former glory for a long time and I think the end product will be worth the disruption.”

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Summer spruce for Aylesbury High Street

Ahead of the summer of fun planned for Aylesbury, residents may have noticed that the high street underwent a spruce up last month. Tree surgeons arrived early on Monday 24th July to clear away some dead trees and trim dead wood from others, near to WH Smith and McDonalds. Because the location of some of the trees was too dry for them to get the water needed to survive, they will be replaced with decorative planters provided by the Town Council.

County councillor Mark Shaw, cabinet member for transportation, welcomed the freshening up to the High Street, saying:

‘It’s good to see that this work has been taken care of quickly and safely. It’s a shame to lose trees from the high street but they were unable to thrive there, and we can’t have dead trees and dead wood in a busy public spot, it’s a hazard. Thanks very much to the team who are doing the work, they have had plenty of guys on site ready to direct pedestrians and ensure the work area is safe. Thankfully the rain stayed away and so it was all finished and cleared up by 3pm. Roll on the summer holidays and all the exciting events coming up for Aylesbury!’

Transport for Buckinghamshire thanks businesses, shoppers, and residents for their patience with the noise and disruption while we carried out these works safely and quickly. 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Overnight roadworks to bring improvements to key Aylesbury routes

Two major roadworks schemes begin this week to improve the roads in Aylesbury. For the next two weeks works will take place under road closures at night, to minimise traffic disruption, on the A41 Aston Clinton Road and the A413 Buckingham Road. While the dual works will mean there will be two diversions in place at the same time causing some delays for drivers, the diversions do not overlap at all and have been scheduled to start after 7pm to avoid peak travelling hours.

The A41 Aston Clinton Road works are taking place on a small stretch outside the Holiday Inn, as work finishes on the new junction there. The road will be shut from 7.30pm to 6am, Monday to Friday only, until 4th August with an additional overnight closure planned for 7th August. The work will include highway improvement, a signalised junction, new traffic islands, the planning and re-surfacing of a 500 metre stretch of the A41, and 170 metres from the junction with New Road going south. There will also be some white lining and loop cutting for the signalised junction. There will be signed diversion routes in place, with HGVs from the Tring direction diverted through Wendover, and cars through Weston Turville.

The A413 Buckingham Road carriageway resurfacing will commence tomorrow night, 25th July, on an area stretching from the traffic lights by the Horse and Jockey pub up to just beyond Prince Rupert Drive. The works should take ten nights to complete, not including any weekend working, but are weather dependant. Access to Watermead and Oliffe Way will be maintained however will be subject to short delays at times to ensure the safety of the public and crews on site. Footway access will be maintained at all times. The diversion route is via A4157 Weedon Road, A41 Bicester Road, and Martin Dalby Way. These works have been delayed by a day due to the overrunning Winslow High Street works which were disrupted by last week’s heavy rain.

County councillor Mark Shaw, cabinet member for transportation, welcomes the road improvements, saying:

“These works are much needed for Aylesbury’s busy road network – some disruption is inevitable but the work has been scheduled to get all that disruption over and done with in a period of just two weeks, rather than run the two schemes back to back and face at least four weeks of diversions. We thank residents and drivers for their patience and forbearance with the noise and minor delays, and hope that once the work is done and the roads are looking fabulous that it will have been worth it!”

For more information on roadworks in Aylesbury and surrounding areas, visit the Transport for Buckinghamshire website:

Friday, 26 May 2017

Bank Holiday Rain Warnings – of course!

It wouldn’t be a Bank Holiday weekend without heavy rain and, as such, ours is scheduled for late Sunday, early Monday this weekend (28th – 29th May) with a yellow weather warning issued by the Met Office.

Transport for Buckinghamshire has additional teams on standby to deal with any road flooding which may occur, and will use gully emptiers where necessary depending on risk and the severity of any flooding. 

What to do if you see a flooded road:
  • CALL US on either 01296 382416 or 01296 486630 (out of hours) to give us the location of the flood
  • Please don’t use social media to let us know. We monitor Twitter and Facebook where we can, but it is not a suitable place to report emergencies, such as flooded roads

Drive safely
If you have to make a journey in heavy rain you should adjust your driving to the conditions of the road. Think Slow, Stop, See when driving in the rain:
  • SLOW: slow down through heavy rain or on wet roads
  • STOP: stopping distances will be affected by wet roads. Keep your speed low, and leave more space between you and the car in front.
  • SEE: use dipped headlights even during daylight to ensure you can see and be seen

For more detailed information about driving in the rain, check out the RAC’s tips:

Follow us on Twitter @TfBAlerts for updates 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Bikers – learn the skills that may save your life this summer

Whether you ride a superbike, classic, or tourer; if you live or ride in Buckinghamshire you can take part in a 2017 Be a Better Biker assessment day.  Delivered by Thames Vale Advanced Motorcyclists (TVAM) and supported by Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) and Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue, the assessments include workshops and an on-road assessment with a TVAM observer. There are currently two assessment day courses scheduled at Marlow Fire Station, on June 17th and July 22nd.

The assessment days are part of an ongoing effort to improve biker safety in Buckinghamshire – in the last three years, 154 bikers have been killed or seriously injured on Buckinghamshire’s roads. Since launching in 2004, the Be a Better Biker initiative has offered hundreds of local bikers advanced training on skills such as manoeuvring, overtaking and cornering techniques.

There are only 12 places available on each assessment day, so to avoid disappointment contact TfB today by calling 01296 382338 or emailing Assessments cost £20 per person. 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Broughton Lane Bridge, Aylesbury, closed after collision

UPDATED - TfB urges road users not to move safety barriers on Broughton Bridge

Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) has become aware that some road users have moved safety barriers at Broughton Lane bridge, and attempted to use the road. TfB will now need to monitor the site daily to ensure the barriers remain in place, and wishes to impress on all road users the importance of not vandalising the traffic management measures (barriers, signs and cones) that have been put in place – these are to maintain the public’s safety as the bridge has been severely damaged. 

Broughton Bridge damage

Transport for Buckinghamshire received a call today, Thursday 30th March, from the Canals and River Trust, who are responsible for the maintenance of Broughton Lane bridge, requesting an emergency road closure after a vehicle hit the bridge. TfB have closed the road at the old Stocklake junction and the entrance to the canal car park, and set up a diversion route through Aylesbury.

Alternative routes for local drivers are Tring Road, Oakfield Road, Douglas Road, Bierton Road, Aylesbury Road, Burcott Lane, and Stocklake. TfB has halted several nearby, planned roadworks to help ease congestion while the road is closed and the diversion is in place.

The vehicle has been removed from site, but the road closure will remain in place while the Canals and River Trust carry out a survey of the damage, and determine any repairs that need to be done. The bridge will remain closed for a month, initially, and possibly longer if the repairs required are extensive. Timescales will be clearer when the survey is complete. 

Diversion map: 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

TfB Teams work through the night to spring clean A412 Denham

Morning commuters on the A412 may have noticed the road looking ship shape today after Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) teams worked over night to carry out maintenance, clearance, and drainage works on the road.

More than 20 TfB team members worked the night shift, closing the road at 8pm last night, Wednesday 22nd March, to make pothole repairs, carry out small scale resurfacing, and clear drainage channels – as well as cutting some new ones. As a result of the investigations carried out to the drainage systems, only possible under a full road closure, more improvements will be scheduled later in the year.

The roadsides got the ‘once over’ too – vegetation was cleared to improve visibility for drivers, and road signs were cleaned, all in time to reopen the road at 5am ahead of the Thursday commuting hours. The team had also been in place earlier in the day, with lane closures only between 9.30am and 3.30pm so as not to disrupt traffic at peak hours.

County Councillor Mark Shaw, who is the cabinet member for transportation, praised the team for their hard work, and for using their initiative to multi task while the road was closed, saying ‘it’s great that the team managed to kill several birds with one stone, achieving so much in one road closure, causing minimal disruption to local residents. It was really forward thinking of the local team to use their time and equipment efficiently and effectively, to give a really good service to the local community – I’d like to thank them for working through the night and making such an impact on the quality of the road. Well done all!’

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Tougher consequences for drivers caught using handheld mobile phones after March 1st

As of March 1st, if caught using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel, drivers will face double the penalties. The fine is increasing from £100 to £200, and licence points are increasing from three to six; for drivers who have had their licences for less than two years, this will mean reverting to learner status, reapplying for a provisional licence and taking both the theory and practical tests again

Using a handheld device at the wheel has been illegal in the UK since 2003, when a three point penalty and £30 on-the-spot fine was introduced. Since then, the fine has risen from £30 to £60 in 2007, and then to £100 in 2013 but this is the first time the potential points incurred has also been raised. This new six point penalty will mean losing their licence altogether for new drivers who have not yet been driving for 2 years; a tough consequence aimed at the younger drivers who, research indicates, are the worst offenders. Despite being made law more than ten years ago, recent surveys have shown that drivers are more nonchalant about breaking the law than ever before, with the percentage of people who think it’s acceptable to take a call while driving has doubled in the last two years.
County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation in Buckinghamshire, welcomes the increased penalties:

“I see so many drivers in Buckinghamshire using their mobiles at the wheel, and it makes my blood boil! The fact that some drivers think it is acceptable to focus even a part of their attention on some text message, call, or – even worse – social media while they are driving, is terrifying. My message to drivers is: put the phone away while you are in the car. It is not safe – no matter how good a driver you think you are, you are 50 per cent less focussed when you are on your phone. To think anything else is pure arrogance, and it could cost a life.”

Remind yourself of the details of the ban:
  • It includes using your mobile phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
  • You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
  • If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200. Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs.
  • Fines can increase to £1000, or more, if being caught results in prosecution for dangerous driving.
  •  You may use a hands-free phone while driving but you can still be prosecuted if you’re not in proper control of your vehicle. The penalties are same as being caught using a handheld phone.
  • The penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously when using a handheld or hands-free phone can include disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.

Why the ban matters:
  • Research shows you are four times more likely to have an accident while on phone.
  • Reaction times for drivers using a phone are around 50 per cent slower than normal driving.
  • Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text - and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Transport for Buckinghamshire responds to Storm Doris incidents

As Storm Doris sends strong winds across Buckinghamshire, Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) is receiving hundreds of calls from the public reporting trees and debris in the roads. Several TfB teams have had to suspend other work in order to deal with trees and debris blocking Buckinghamshire’s roads, working closely with local tree surgeons, utilities companies, and police. Work to clear the roads is likely to continue into the night. Here’s a roundup from the three main areas of the county, about how the local TfB teams have dealt with Doris so far:

Aylesbury Vale:

Trees have been the main issue either fallen across or depositing debris on the road. Teams have attended to 18 (as of 3pm) trees in the road, with several still to do.

There are two in-house crews attending to debris reported on the roads, who are putting in road closures and diversions.

In addition there are two tree surgeon contractors also clearing fallen trees. Western Power Distribution have been called to Little Horwood where a tree fell across the road, brought a powerline down, and landed on the Public House. (The A413 between Winslow and Swanbourne will remain closed for several hours due to a tree falling on a powerline)

Chilterns & South Bucks:

Over 50 fallen trees have caused disruption on the roads in the Chiltern and South Bucks area today.

The whole workforce is currently dealing with removing trees and branches from the road, or installing road closures. In several locations TfB teams are being supported by South Bucks Tree Surgeons in order to deal with the larger obstructions.

All other works have had to be suspended this afternoon due to the sheer volume of wind-related incidents, and it looks likely the work will continue into the evening.

High Wycombe and surrounding areas:

So far today the High Wycombe team has dealt with 22 trees in the road, and have suspended gully cleaning to release another crew to deal with the effects of the stormy weather. Only one of the trees required help from local tree surgeons.

It is expected that at least two crews will continue working into this evening.  

***If you see trees in the road, please DO NOT report it via social media: CALL 01296 382416 or 01296 486630 (out of hours) and report it directly ***

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Press release from Thames Valley Police, dated 20/02/2017 

Police to Enforce Marlow Bridge weight restriction

Thames Valley Police will be checking vehicles crossing Marlow Bridge to make sure they do not exceed the weight limit.

For six weeks, from Wednesday 1 March 2017, any overweight vehicles trying to cross the bridge will be turned around by officers and issued with an advisory notice.

After this period Thames Valley Police will enforce the weight restriction and issue £50 fixed penalty notices to drivers breaching this traffic regulation.

Marlow Bridge is a Grade 1 listed structure and its use is restricted to vehicles under three metric tonnes maximum gross weight (MGW) and less than 6ft 6ins wide.

It is the driver’s responsibility to know their vehicles MGW and to ensure that they do not infringe road traffic regulations. If anyone is unsure of their vehicles MGW they should refer to the vehicle handbook, supplying dealer or manufacturer’s website.

Whilst there are some exceptions, typically the following vehicles should not be using this bridge: Range Rovers, Discoveries, Ford Transit vans, Mercedes Sprinter vans, Volvo XC90s, 4WD pick-ups, Mercedes GLE/GLS/G Classes and Audi Q7s. 

The number of passengers or luggage within the vehicle has no bearing on its MGW.

PS Robin Hughes from Marlow neighbourhood team said: “We appreciate that this activity may cause some traffic disruption in the short term however it is imperative that people understand the importance of not driving overweight vehicles on this bridge.

“The weight restrictions are clearly signposted and the alternative route for vehicles that exceed this, along the A404 bypass, will add just a few minutes onto most people’s journeys.

“By adhering to these simple road traffic regulations we can all help to prevent future disruption in the area for residents, visitors and commuters and ensure that this well-loved local landmark remains undamaged.”

Friday, 17 February 2017

Improvements coming to Chesham High Street

Works by Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) are set to commence this Monday, 20th February, providing improvements to Chesham High Street and Market Square. The carefully planned works, which include maintenance requiring planning permission due to the town centre’s conservation area status, have been scheduled in close cooperation between TfB, the Environment Agency, Chesham Town Council, and local businesses.

The planned works comprise footway and carriageway improvements including repair to areas damaged by tree roots, replacement of some blockwork along the footway between Station Road and Red Lion Street, installation of a new drainage channel between Station Road and Church Street to address some flooding issues, and tree pruning and maintenance.

Efforts have been made to limit disruption to local businesses and residents during the predicted six to eight weeks the works will take to complete. While fencing around works will be in place, access to all properties will be open, and any works affecting access to local businesses will take place outside of normal working hours.  Chesham’s vibrant Wednesday and Saturday markets will also continue to operate during the works. Utmost care and respect will be employed in making these vital improvements to one of Buckinghamshire’s important historic towns, and all works have been designed with the conservation of town character in mind.

County Councillor Mark Shaw, who is Cabinet Member for Transportation in Buckinghamshire, has emphatically welcomed the improvements to his home town saying, ‘It’s been a long road to securing the budget and organising these vital works, and Noel Brown [County Councillor for Chess Valley] and I are both so happy they are about to commence. We really tried to listen to local residents and businesses, and the concerns we were hearing about were trip hazards and flooding – I believe these issues will be addressed by these works, and I hope everyone enjoys, and benefits from, the results. So, please bear with the contractors for the next couple of months or so, and we’ll have a renewed and restored high street just in time for spring.”

Notes: Works commence on Monday 20th February and are scheduled to take 6-8 weeks, weather dependent. All works take place within the pedestrianised part of Chesham town centre, with access retained for delivery and service vehicles as usual. 

Monday, 13 February 2017

TfB Twitter and Facebook Policy FAQ

Q: Is TfB social media monitored 24/7?
A: No. A Transport for Buckinghamshire communications officer will monitor Twitter and Facebook during working hours, 9 – 5pm Monday to Friday.

Q: But I saw a tweet from TfB Alerts on Saturday evening, who sent that?
A: From time to time, particularly during winter, tweets will be sent by us outside of working hours. Every day between October and March we dispatch a gritting decision tweet, which is sent by one of our staff from home, with no access to other work resources. We also sometimes schedule tweets and Facebook posts using Hootsuite, to go out at the desired times of the evening or weekend. 

Q: Can I report pot holes via Twitter and Facebook?
A: Ideally, no. The best and most efficient way for you to report anything to TfB, from feedback and compliments to complaints and reports of problems on the highway, is to use our website. By logging on the website, your report will receive a unique Customer Reference Number that you can track afterwards to see its progress. This is the quickest way for your comments and queries to get to the correct person.

Q: What if it’s an emergency?
A: If it’s an emergency, definitely don’t report it on Twitter or Facebook! Phone our 24 hour contact line, 01296 382416 or 01296 486630 (out of hours) and tell us directly.

Q: But I’ve seen you accept reports through Twitter in the past?
A: Our communications officers use their judgment about how to deal with reports that come in on Twitter during working hours. If the report seems urgent, or the officer has the time to act on it on behalf of the Tweeter, they will. Out of hours, however, it will simply not be seen. In general, our policy is to direct social media users to reporting on the website links listed below.

Q: How do I report a pot hole?
A: By logging it online, here, and getting a customer reference number. You can then track the report’s progress here. If you provide an email address on your report you will also receive automated updates via email.

Q: Where do I report a broken streetlight?
A: Here, using the interactive map. It helps if you have noted the column number of the light in question. This map will also tell you if the light has already been reported, or if it is part of an energy saving initiative.

Q: Where do I report something else, that’s not a pothole or streetlight?
A: Whether it’s an issue on a public right of way, or a blocked drain, you can report all other highway issues on the website.

Q: I want to complain!
A: Sorry to hear that, but you can do so here. You can also use that link to give us general feedback, or pay us a compliment for a job well done. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Another cold snap

Weather reports are circulating via the media with the mention of snow. TfB winter decision makers are aware of the potential for a light dusting of snow over the next 24 hours. Our local forecast does not identify significant or disruptive snow. Our gritters will be treating the winter network early this evening in preparation for a hoar frost. We will keep you updated.
Follow us on Twitter @tfbalerts for up to the minute gritting information.

New year's honours for TfB's gritters

After a long and hardworking career, Transport for Buckinghamshire gritters Salty, Daisy and Snowdrop have retired. In their place we welcome Blizzard Wizard, Snowphie and Brrrrrrian!

During December Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) held a competition to name their three new arrivals, and whittled over 200 entries down to the winning three. It was a tough decision, with entries such as ‘Melt’n John’ and ‘Meltallica’ as well, of course, as Salty McSaltface…

Blizzard Wizard was named by Arran and Calum Kelly from Chesham, Brrrrrrian’s name was chosen by Beth Arnaud from Waddesdon, and Snowphie has been named by Sophie Ingham from Long Crendon, who chose her own nickname, given to her as it snowed on the day of her birth. Her ‘glitter’ as she refers to it, along with the other two new trucks, will join the existing fleet, all of which were named during 2009 by local schools.

Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport said, “The guys who carry out our winter road salting work hard through a tough season, and having a little light relief in the form of fun gritter names just brings a bit of humour to the job. We love running these competitions and I’m delighted with the new names. Don’t forget to check them out online!”
The new salting trucks will be out on their routes over the rest of the winter season, and can now be tracked in real time on TfB’s online gritting map.

TfB make daily decisions during the winter about whether or not to treat the roads based on forecasts from stations across the county. They make this decision based on a number of factors, but will look at whether or not the road temperature will drop below zero.

To keep informed of these decisions, follow TfB on Twitter @tfbalerts.

Gary Tibbles, Supervisor; Sophie and her mum; Niki Atkins, Fleet Manager with new 'glitter', Snowphie

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Seen a pothole? Tell TfB!

With the recent cold snap over, you may have noticed a few more potholes in our roads. This is normal after a period of below zero temperatures, and Transport for Buckinghamshire is laying on extra crews to tackle them, as a result.

These potholes are formed through the ‘freeze-thaw’ cycle, where water gets into tiny imperfections or cracks in the road surface and freezes, expanding and pushing the tarmac apart. The water then thaws, creating bigger gaps in the road surface each time the freeze-thaw occurs. When traffic travels over the weakened section of road, the gaps cave in, creating potholes.

TfB says they are aware of the increase in defects, but they do not know where many of these additional issues have cropped up. Potholes can appear over-night, so a recently inspected road may have appeared fine, only to break up soon after. They are urging road users to report any problems they see.

Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport said: “We really need everyone on the roads to ‘be our eyes’ and take responsibility for reporting any defects they spot. Our online reporting tool is so easy to use and every pothole reported is inspected. We do have stringent criteria for the repair process, so not every pothole will be immediately fixed. But those that do not meet criteria for immediate repair will be closely monitored.”

Anyone can use the online reporting system – just visit

If you spot a pothole that you think requires urgent attention, please call TfB to report – 01296 382416.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Wintery weather's on its way...

UPDATE: 14.00 Jan 13th

Passing light snow showers earlier today arrived and departed as expected. Road surface temperatures will continue to fall as the evening proceeds. We expect the stiff breeze to have a drying effect across some routes.

With additional data from road sensors we are now planning an early afternoon/early evening treatment. Times may vary across the County. The forecast for the remainder of the night is indicating the possibility of early morning light snow showers. With this afternoon/evening's treatment we feel there will be sufficient salt on the roads. We will continue to monitor the forecast overnight, however.

We are now returning to standard winter operating procedures as the forecast indicates the high risk of snow has abated for this forecast period.

We thank you for your understanding and support and trust recent communications have been informative.  We have tried to provide you an insight into the challenging role of our winter maintenance team.

Further updates will follow should we become aware of severe weather which may affect our road network. 

UPDATE: 09.00 Jan 13th

All routes were treated last night without reported incident. This morning as expected our main routes were clear. Our winter crews are currently on stand down to ensure they are sufficiently rested. We plan to bring crews back for 10:00 when they will remain in the depot on standby to respond to weather related matters.  As a result there will be very few TfB vehicles seen across the network. Rest assured we have sufficient operational support staff continuing their normal duties. Our front line operation will continue today with skeleton crews focussing on priority highway repairs. This situation is standard practice following snow conditions, irrespective of accumulation amounts.

At this time the forecast indicates a small weather system approaching, travelling north to south across the County. This may deliver light rain, sleet or snow, however, accumulations are not predicted to cause travel issues. Towards the end of the afternoon we expect road surface temperatures to dip below zero. At this time we are considering an afternoon treatment of the network to keep the gritters away from the Friday travel home period. Treatment times may vary across the County.

From this evening onwards we expect to return to our standard winter operational procedures. 

UPDATE: 22.00 Jan 12th

Last snow update of the day:
Our gritters now returning to their depots. Drivers reported road conditions on treated routes are clear. Roads remain wet as a result of the earlier rain and melting snow.

Next treatments are set for 23:00 & 04:00 - these treatments will keep the treated network as safe as possible overnight as temperatures fall sharply on wet roads.


 UPDATE: 18.30 Jan 12th

Our gritters are now returning to their depots having placed an initial treatment across the road network. Our drivers have reported back some settling snow across the county, which we expected. Accumulation and road conditions vary across Buckinghamshire, therefore please be aware, should you be planning to travel this evening. 
We now must wait for the evening traffic to reduce otherwise our gritters will be delayed in any evening congestion. Also, salt distribution becomes ineffective at such slow speeds. We are planning a further treatment at 19:00 which should assist in clearing the network of settled snow. At this time we are preparing further network treatments at 23:00 & 04:00 based on the current forecast. 

Live weather radar available to TfB indicates snow passing through our region 19:30 to 20:00. Exact timing may vary due to wind speed. 

Tomorrow's forecast
At this time the forecast indicates tomorrow as being cold with the risk of ice on untreated roads. Some light snow showers in the morning. We expect there to be sufficient salt on the road from the 04:00 treatment to control snow in contact with the road surface. Accumulations are predicated to be minimal. Road surface temperatures then dip towards late afternoon. At this time we may undertake a midday treatment to again prevent our gritters being delayed in the Friday evening drive home. This would also provide our drivers with the additional rest they deserve.


UPDATE: 12.50pm Jan 12th

Today we are presented with an extremely challenging forecast which indicates possible snow just before rush hour. If we send out the spreaders at this time, they will likely become embroiled in any traffic congestion. This will cause delays not only to road users, but to the salting route completion – spreading is ineffective at low speeds. Our plan, at this stage, is to put winter crews on depot standby from midday. We have to wait to assess rainfall; however, with the forecast at hand, we feel we should attempt to spread salt across the primary (precautionary) network, before 5pm.

Therefore, we may be seen by the public gritting in the rain which, under normal circumstances, we would not usually do in case the rain washed the salt away. The hope is to ensure some salt remains active until our next window of opportunity tonight from 18:00. We then plan a further two treatments (at 20gsm) throughout the night to manage the ice risk across the primary network in time for the morning travel period. At this time we have no plans to treat the secondary routes. Please be prepared for the possibility of travel disruption between 16:00 – 18:00

Salting: 14.00 in the NORTH of the county, 14.30 in the SOUTH. Repeats likely this evening, subject to forecast. 

The first sign of snow may be on the horizon, with forecasters predicting a drop in temperature tomorrow (Thursday) and potential for some sleet or snow. With this in mind, here's an update of our plans...

Every day during the winter our guys are on standby, ready to go out. When we receive a snow forecast, we look at timings and temperatures in order to make the most appropriate plan.

So what is the plan?
This forecast is predicting rain or sleet in the afternoon, which will make the road wet. This means a pre-treatment will be ineffective - if we spread salt on the roads, the rain will simply wash it away. Therefore, we will send the gritters out as soon as the rain or sleet stops, or as soon as it turns to settling snow. This makes for an effective treatment in time for the forecast temperature drop. The decision will be made locally, from each depot in the county, so we can go at the best time!

Once this is complete, we will then look at repeating the treatment, if necessary, according to the most recent forecast.

Things to remember
Forecasts are just that - a best guess with the information available. If conditions differ to the forecast, different action will be taken, as appropriate. We are well equipped to swiftly alter our plans.

Salt is not a cure-all. Roads may still be icy, even if treated, as the salt needs tyre traction in order to be most effective. In instances where the road temperature falls below -8 degrees C, salt becomes ineffective, so it's worth bearing in mind when driving that you may still encounter some icy conditions.

We treat 44% of the county's road network. This is a combination of all A and B roads, links to schools and bus routes, but does not cover all county roads. A map of our gritting routes can be found here. In periods of prolonged severe weather, we have a secondary route around the county which will be additionally treated. We will inform when we treat this secondary network - keep your eyes on Twitter, @tfbalerts. You will also see notifications of all our salting treatments here as well.

Make sure your car is ready - check wipers, and lights are functioning, tyre tread is still ok and that you have washer fluid. We always advise only making essential journeys in periods of snow, but hopefully we won't be buried under mountains of the stuff tomorrow!

Remember your neighbours
We have grit bins stationed at various locations around the county. We don't routinely treat estate roads, so sprinkling a bit of grit from the TfB bins will ensure your roads stay as safe as possible. Take advice from us and go out after the rainfall.

More info to follow as we receive it... stay safe!

Gritters at the ready...!