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Cwmbach Father and Son Duo Keeping RCT Moving

Meet the father and son team who are out and about keeping you moving through the inclement weather. With Rhondda Cynon Taf experiencing inclement weather, it’s good to know we’re in safe hands! 

Ross and Alun Williams, aged 29 and 60, both from Cwmbach have been gritting our highways for a combined 20 years and they are once again out and about in all weather conditions day and night to do their very best to keep residents moving. 

Ross and Alun are just two of the men in the 20 gritting vehicles that are out and about 24/7 making sure our roads are safe when Jack Frost pays the County Borough a visit. 

The duo also form part of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Out of Hours 24/7 Response Team. The dedicated workforce that declares war on winter and lots more while residents sleep! 

The team are ready for action as the Council currently boasts 20 purpose built gritting vehicles that are deployed across the County Borough, driven by Alun and Ross and the rest of the winter maintenance teams during snow and icy conditions to keep residents moving in inclement weather. The team maintains 1250km of carriageways and undertakes pro-active winter service between the core period of October 1st and April 30th. 

In a single run of the Precautionary Salting Network (i.e. priority routes), staff cover a length of 267 miles – that’s the equivalent of travelling from Aberdare to Lake Windermere! Between 50 and 70 tonnes of salt is spread per run during this time (depending on the weather forecast). 

Ross, has a young family and often has call outs in the early hours to deal with emergencies – these range from stolen man hole covers, icy roads to Road Traffic Collisions and lots more. So Ross and Alun leave their comfy warm beds to deal with the situations.   

Ross said: “I love my job, everyday is different and knowing that what I do helps people makes the cold late nights/early mornings worthwhile. My partner and family worry when I’m out and about in all sorts of weather conditions, but she knows it’s something that has to be done. I don’t like leaving my little ones in the middle of the night, but they know that daddy has an important job to do.     

“It’s also nice to have my dad there working alongside me, fair-play we do make a good team and he likes to tell me that I’m learning from the best.” 

Alun added: “I’ve been doing this job for a long time and I’ve seen a fair bit now, especially heavy snowfall over the years. Ross is a good boy and we get on well, you’re never to old to learn new tricks and he keeps me up to speed with all the new technologies, especially the new gritting GPS system – I’m lucky to have my son by my side.” 

To help the teams, new technology is shortly being installed in the vehicles that will help them to navigate around the routes, this new machine will also automatically turn salt on and off, resulting in less wastage. 

Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, who also has responsibility for Highways, Cllr Andrew Morgan, said: “It’s thanks to the dedicated work of people like Ross and Alun that residents and motorists are able to safely travel around the County Borough during the winter months.

"They work 24/7 often whilst the rest of us are asleep in bed. It’s important that we support the work they do and be thankful that our staff are out there doing their very best to keep our roads safe in often treacherous conditions. 

“At any time, when the conditions require it, there are approximately 10 gritting vehicles out across the County Borough through the night with all 20 vehicles deployed during heavy snowfall. 

“The gritting vehicles have been built to include the latest technology in salt distribution and are fitted with trackers and salt monitoring systems, which allow the Council to programme the vehicles accurately, depending on the route and weather conditions. 

“This results in a more effective and efficient use of the salt supplies, reducing costs and the environmental impact that the salt has on our County Borough.” 

Residents are reminded that during periods of inclement weather it is important that cars are parked safely so that gritting lorries can get through and treat the roads. They are also reminded that grit bins are there to treat public highways and foot paths not personal drives – where possible ensure elderly and less mobile residents are given priority access. 

For further information on our Highways Winter Maintenance Policy or to report an issue out of hours call 01443 425001.