Barns storing thousands of tonnes of salt to spread on roads in ice and snow are set to open at Chertsey and Beare Green, near Dorking, while another at Merrow outside Guildford will be expanded.
Redeveloping the sites will create a chain across Surrey that will mean stocks are distributed more evenly – salt stored in the east will rise from 4,500 tonnes to 7,100.
That will give the council the opportunity to take a fresh look at where gritters are positioned and the routes they use, which will save on fuel costs, cut carbon emissions and potentially pave the way for a smaller fleet covering the same routes in less time.
The cost of the new barns, which will be opened over the next three years, is set to be covered by selling or leasing all or part of two less well-positioned sites.
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways John Furey said: “The current chilly temperatures and snow just go to show how important our gritting operation is to keeping traffic moving.
“These new salt barns will only improve that, although it wouldn’t have been possible without raising money from other sites given the severe strain rising demand for services such as adult social care is putting on our budgets.
“It also gives us the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and look at planning better gritting routes from this new chain of depots that will save both time and money.”