It’s the end of an era in Oldham….After years of service keeping Oldham’s roads free of ice and snow gritters Freddie Salted; Grittersaurus; Goliath; Walter the Salter; Gritterbug; Gritney Spears; Gritanator and Thor have retired to the big depot in the sky.
In the course of their duties it is estimated that the incredible eight clocked up more than 1.2 million miles, more than five times the distance from the earth to the moon, keeping Oldham’s roads snow free. Roads cleared have including some of the highest in the region. In that time they have put down more than 20,000 tonnes of salt which is around the same weight as 5,000 Asian elephants.
Oldham are keeping the newest member of their fleet, Nicole Saltslinger, who is a favourite with residents and was named by children in a competition last year.
To ensure she doesn’t feel too alone the gritter will be joined this year by seven new gritters and Oldham Council are asking, once again, for young people to ‘prove their salt’ and come up with a name for each of them.
If you would like to take part in naming the gritters just visit www.oldham.gov.uk/nameagritter and leave your suggestions along with your details. You can send in one name or as many as you want, Oldham is hoping for an avalanche of entries.
Once the winning entries have been chosen the gritters will be branded with their new names. Winners will be invited to be photographed alongside the machine they have named.
The competition is open to all school age children aged 16 and under, who either live in Oldham or attend a school in the borough. The competition’s closing date for entries is noon on Sunday, October 22.
Councillor Fida Hussain, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Over the years our fleet of gritters have provided a great service to the people of Oldham. But due to wear and tear the time has come to replace them so they, and their drivers, can continue to play a vital role in helping to keep the borough moving during cold spells.
“Every time we’ve run a similar competition it has been well received by members of the public. Last year from a single tweet more than 70,000 people engaged with us in one way or another and some of the suggestions we had were fantastic. We even took the silly suggestions with a pinch of salt. Although this has all been a bit of fun it has also helped teach our young people about road safety and how we keep our roads safe in cold weather.”
To keep residents fully informed of any developments on Oldham’s roads, the Oldham Council website – www.oldham.gov.uk/winter will be updated continually and feature the latest news on school closures, gritting routes, locations of grit bins and grit sales.
The First Response service will use its Twitter account @oldhamalert to inform followers of school and road closures or incidents.
These will also be retweeted for residents using the Council’s account @oldhamcouncil and updates will appear via the local media.