Gritting and salt bins

Gritting priorities

The road network in the Borders is over 3,000km long so it is impossible for us to treat all roads at once.

Which roads get treated

We have to prioritise some roads over others and we have done this by carrying out a comprehensive review of our roads along with our colleagues in Police Scotland to put them into two categories, primary routes and secondary routes.

This review considered:

  • traffic flows (usage)
  • bus services
  • whether it is a main road or the only link road into a village/town
  • topography (surface and shape of the road)
  • prime emergency route
  • school transport route

No one single factor, (including a school transport route), results in a section of road being included in a primary gritting route

Primary routes

These are the initial sections of road network treated when it is forecast that road surface temperatures will fall below freezing. When required, these routes will be treated between 6am and 8.30am.

They will also be treated in the evening before the predicted forecast time that road surface temperatures will fall below freezing. During snow and extreme winter conditions we try to treat all primary routes. However, the timing and level of treatment depends on the conditions at the time of treatment and the prevailing weather.

View the primary gritting routes on a map

Secondary routes

If freezing conditions continue these routes will be salted after treating the primary routes if there is time and resources to cover them. In snow we will get to secondary routes once the primary routes have been snow ploughed and are clear of snow.

All other routes (roads and car parks)

The remaining roads (i.e. those which are neither primary nor secondary routes) but are on the list of public road roads are classified as Tertiary Routes. The Tertiary network will only be treated when extended weather conditions persist; all primary routes have been treated; resources have been committed to secondary routes and other resources have become available.

Gritting facts

  • it takes up to two and a half hours to treat one gritting route
  • we have 28 primary gritting routes which account for 37% of roads in the Borders
  • if you line up all the roads in the Borders it is the equivalent of travelling from the Borders to Moscow
  • we receive a weather forecast for the Borders daily between 10.45am and 11.15am which allows us to make a decision on gritting. This is reviewed when we receive an update at 6pm daily

Please remember

If your road isn't ploughed or gritted, please keep in mind that the main roads are kept open so that emergency services can access hospitals and fire stations, before we attend to your road.

You should always drive to road conditions.

More information

See our winter FAQs for more information and answers to some of the questions we often receive.


See our priority gritting routes

Adverse weather enquiry

Address: Council Headquarters
Newtown St. Boswells

Telephone: 0300 100 1800