A new army of eight gritters is set to hit Manchester’s streets - and after being invited to name the salt-spreading machines, Mancunians didn’t need a second invitation.
The eight most popular suggestions, including a wintry pun on the name of Manchester music icon Noel Gallagher, have received the distinction of being emblazoned on the new vehicles - which have been provided through a £960,000 investment to strengthen Manchester’s resilience to winter weather and help keep traffic on the go.
The response to Manchester City Council’s call for ideas was overwhelming, with 2,000 suggestions received, ranging from the witty to the downright corny. And after much deliberation, 24 of the catchiest ideas were put to the public to have the final say via a series of Twitter polls.
The winning entries are:-
Thousands of tonnes of rock salt are stored at the council’s depot to help make sure that more than 700km of Manchester roads can be gritted and the city keeps moving, whatever the weather, with winter services active from at least October until April each year. A special liquid de-icer is also deployed to treat segregated cycleways and footways.
New ‘track my gritter’ software has been developed and will be available soon on the council's website, allowing Manchester residents to check whether Basil Salty, Slushay Away or another of the fleet has been gritting their area. In addition, residents will also be able to "Ask Alexa' if their area has been gritted. These features have been developed with the support of Truview Visuals.
Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “So many suggestions were received that it was hard to whittle them down, but the public decided on some cracking names for our new gritters - including a Mancunian connection in 'Snowel Gallagher'.
“Our investment in these vehicles will help to ensure that our roads, footways and cycle lanes are kept safe and accessible in the face of harsh weather. And people might see the name they voted for on the roads, meaning that the vehicles will be spreading a little cheer, as well as grit, throughout the winter months.
"I'm also proud that we are one of the first councils to introduce innovative ways in which residents can find out in real time about our winter service, through the use of new technology."