CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

A day in a Devon life: Roads gritter Jason Tetley

PUBLISHED: 11:43 23 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:43 23 February 2016

Jason Tetley: 'I think the public dont always understand that weve been out at 2am with the snow coming down and ice all over the roads'

Jason Tetley: 'I think the public dont always understand that weve been out at 2am with the snow coming down and ice all over the roads'

Matt Austin _

In the latest of her series through 2016, Kate Haskell celebrates the people that make Devon work. This month: roads gritter Jason Tetley

As you snuggle down under that warm duvet on a cold winter’s night when the forecast suggests that the mercury is dropping, you may just have a passing thought of what the roads might be like as you head out the next morning.

Well, whilst you’re having that thought, spare a moment to think of Jason Tetley and his crew because they are the ones making sure that most of the 8,000 miles of Devon roads are safe for you to use. At 1pm each day during the winter season Jason, the winter maintenance manager for South West Highways who are the current contractor for Devon County Council, will get together with the Met Office and Devon County Council and each will assess the needs for the next day and then Jason leaps into action making sure the team are ready to go and the gritters are in the right place at the right time. This is a job Jason has done for the past six years but before that he was your man out in the big gritting lorries working through the night for four years. He recalls: “It was hectic and dangerous and you have to be vigilant but it is also fun and I got a real sense of achievement making sure the roads are clear for the next day.”

Now though he is the man in charge and by all accounts it is a mammoth task. Jason tells me: “It takes up all my time from the middle of August onwards, first making sure that we have everything ready to go for the start of the season, which is 14 October, including making sure we have enough salt which currently amounts to 26,000 tons distributed around 13 depots.

“The next challenge is making sure over 170 pieces of plant machinery, from gritters to snow ploughs, are in the right depots at the right time!”

Unlike some management jobs Jason’s responsibility is by no means a 9-5; he is on call 24 hours a day over the winter and has been known to be up at 2am organising the team when the temperatures keep dropping.

Driving the gritting lorries is no easy task either as Jason explains: “It is a dangerous job where serious accidents occur, black ice is a big problem and despite their size we have had big lorries go over and the team are working 7pm-7am.”

It is impracticable to salt the entire county road network in freezing conditions so salting priorities have to be identified comprising the major routes where the majority of vehicle movements take place and also access to hospitals, ambulance and fire stations, other emergency service establishments and secondary schools.

During severe weather, such as prolonged freezing or significant snowfalls, other routes on the Devon road network are treated or cleared on a priority basis.

If we’re honest though we’ve all had a little moan during the winter when we either get stuck behind a gritting lorry or feel that the roads haven’t been cleared in time and understandably Jason says he can feel a bit despondent about that: “I think the public don’t always understand that we’ve been out at 2am with the snow coming down and ice all over the roads. We do our very best but to hear people moaning the next day can be disheartening.”

Jason though clearly loves his job and the fact he can do it in Devon, having lived here for 25 years and brought up his family here he can’t imagine living anywhere else or doing any other job: “I thoroughly enjoy keeping Devon’s roads safe.”

So on our cold and icy mornings take care and be thankful that Jason and his team have been watching over you. w

On the roads

Devon has more roads than any other highway authority.

The county has 8,000 miles of roads of which 1,655 miles are pre-salted.

Crucial to the control of winter service and emergency operations is Devon County Council’s Highway Operations Control Centre from where conditions are continuously monitored so that action can be initiated at the appropriate time.

Devon owns 3,300 bridges, of which 3,000 bridges are crossing water.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Devon’s Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, also known as The Black Farmer, tells KATE WILLIAMS about his new book, Jeopardy, encouraging the embracing of risk to enrich life

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As five members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton celebrate 125 years of collective volunteering, we look back on their time with the organisation

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

CAROLYN SEAGER reveals how long after her mother’s death she discovered her amazing career in the service of her country

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An author known for her novels depicting life on the Channel Islands is nonetheless happiest writing from home here in Devon

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fig Tree Court is a development of 14 apartments in Tiverton for retired and semi- retired over-55s with gorgeous views over the Grand Western Canal

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Alex Green goes behind the scenes on the Dartington Hall Estate to find a community of artists, makers, farmers, and social entrepreneurs living out the legacy of its founders

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Many people know of award-winning Roly’s Fudge, but do they know how much hard work and business insight goes into making it?

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Topsham businessmen Steve Williams and Pete Woodham-Kay take an ethical stance on eating meat | Photos: Nick Hook

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

As llama love grips the nation, we meet a Dartmoor couple who have spent the last 11 years making them their livelihood | Words: Lydia Tewkesbury

Read more
Friday, August 24, 2018

Aimee Pagliari is the Teignmouth Life Coach and she can help you achieve your personal, career or business success through a variety of holistic methods

Read more
Friday, August 24, 2018

Although doulas are relatively unknown in the Western world, they have been supporting mothers around the world since biblical times. We’ve met Aimee Pagliari, the Teignmouth Doula, to find out more

Read more
Friday, August 24, 2018

Aimee Pagliari of Teignmouth Counselling has been working as a counsellor for 10 years and we’ve spoken to her to find out who can benefit from such therapy

Read more
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Gill Heavens salutes a long-standing North Devon club whose members love to explore the depths of our offshore waters

Read more
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Cantering up the gently sloping, springy turf of a Dartmoor tor is a million miles away from the noise, pollution and hubbub of Sara Cox’s life in London – and that’s exactly why the 43-year-old radio and TV presenter keeps coming back to ride there.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search