Cold, snow, black ice; winter is upon us and so are the winter weather conditions, sometimes to an extreme. To ensure that vehicles are able to continue to use the Rouen - Alençon A28 Motorway in spite of these possible harsh conditions, major resources have been made available to the operational teams in order to make
winter driving conditions as safe as possible.
The priority is firstly to best anticipate the onset of adverse weather conditions. To that end, a contract has been signed with Météo-France (French Meteorological Office), giving permanent access to the three hour forecast and to radar images showing areas where there are currently showers. In addition, there are 6 weather stations located at strategic points that are particularly vulnerable (Le Bec and La Risle viaducts in particular), that have a direct link to the Chaumont Central Operations Centre (Orne Department). They supply, in real-time, essential information such as air temperature, carriageway temperature (on the surface and at depth), hygrometry, dew point, etc. By combining these two sources of information, it is therefore possible to know the evolution of climatic conditions in order to order, when the conditions render them necessary, the call out of the specific adverse weather teams.
In order to keep the motorway fully open at all time and to ensure the safety of motorists in spite of adverse weather conditions, the motorway operating company, Routalis has significant resources in terms of personnel and equipment. In effect, there are no less than 60 staff implicated in winter weather operations. Managers, motorway intervention staff and control room operators have all received specific training concerning the operation of a motorway in snowy or icy conditions. During the whole winter period, 16 drivers take their turn in operating 13 lorries, 11 salt spreaders, 11 snow ploughs and 6 salt loaders, brought up to date every summer.
In addition, before the winter, 4.000 tons of salt are stocked in four hangars along the route of the motorway. This stock is regularly replenished as and when is needed.