New gritting depot takes shape

IPSWICH: On one of the hottest days of the year, officials from Suffolk have been showing off their new gritting depot to handle the next blitz of snow and ice.

The new highways depot is being created at Goddard Road next to the Asda superstore – and will replace the current depot at Great Blakenham.

That is being closed because it has been identified as the potential site for the county’s waste incinerator which would burn rubbish to create electricity.

At five acres the new depot is only half the size of Great Blakenham – but county officials insist it will be able to do much more.

Graeme Lewin, the council’s highways manager, said the new depot would be able to carry out far more functions than are currently performed at Great Blakenham.

He said: “The maintenance workshops will be able to service the authority’s fleet of coaches and buses and the fire appliances.

“They are currently maintained for us by Ipswich Buses and at the Colchester Road fire station respectively – now we will be able to bring vehicle maintenance for this part of Suffolk under the same roof.”

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But it is the depot’s salt store that will dominate the site – it is a building that is currently being being put up by Barnes Construction.

The salt store will be able to hold 6,000 tonnes – as opposed to 4,000 tonnes at Great Blakenham.

Mike Bailey, from Barnes Construction, said that building a salt store brought its own challenges.

“The building is going up around a timber and glue frame – the wood is pressed together with glue to give it added strength.

“You can’t use much metal because of corrosion problems and the floor has to be strengthened because the weight of 6,000 tonnes of salt would otherwise distort it and undermine the whole building,” he said.

The work at the site – previously the P and O Ferrymasters depot – includes refurbishing the offices.

The council will be re-using most of the furniture left behind by the previous owners when the new depot opens next month.

“We move into the offices in the middle of July,” said Mr Lewin. “The workshops should be ready soon after and the salt ban will be finished by the end of August or early September and will be ready for the first delivery for the winter.

“It should be filled by the middle of October, after when we should be ready for whatever the winter throws at us.”

n Will the new depot be good for the county? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk